- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 23-year-old man died in a hospital after being shot by a police officer following a chase and confrontation in south St. Louis, city police said Tuesday.

Two officers were patrolling the Dutchtown neighborhood around 3:35 p.m. when they saw a man they recognized acting suspiciously, according to a statement from public information officer Schron Jackson. The man they “knew from the neighborhood” then fled with his hand at his waistband, and officers chased him on foot, the statement said.

The officers found the man hiding behind a bush, Jackson said. As they attempted to arrest him, a struggle ensued.

During the struggle, “the suspect produced a handgun,” the statement said. The man pointed it toward the officers, and one officer fired shots at the suspect, striking him, according to the statement.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the officer fired four times. He did not say how many times the man was hit.

“If I wanted to describe a struggle for your life, one of the officers today is covered in mud, literally head to toe, where they were rolling on the ground in the mud while trying to gain to control of (the man’s) gun,” Dotson said.

The man, Ledarius D. Williams of St. Louis, was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.

Jackson said Williams’ .45-caliber gun was recovered on the scene. A preliminary investigation shows the gun was reported stolen in Alabama in 2013, according to Jackson.

Neither officer was injured. The officers were not identified, but police said one had been with the force nearly seven years and the other for nearly two.

The officer who shot Williams has been placed on standard administrative leave, and the incident is under investigation.

A St. Louis police hot-spot policing initiative is set to focus on the Dutchtown neighborhood beginning next week.

A crowd of about 40 people at one point gathered at the scene of the shooting, the newspaper reported. The crowd included relatives of Williams, who declined to comment.

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