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ST. LOUIS — A man who struggled with police after they shot his brother last week has been charged with a federal gun crime.

Rodney Cotton Jr., 29, became distraught after the June 6 shooting, climbing a fence and walking over to the body and began screaming that police had shot his brother, charging documents say.

When officers tried to remove him from the scene of the shooting, Cotton became "combative" and refused, struggling with officers, the charges say.

A detective shocked Cotton with a Taser, and then officers handcuffed him. After his arrest, officers found a .32-caliber pistol in his left front pants pocket, loaded with five rounds, the charges say. At the time, Cotton was the subject of an order of protection and was wanted by police for allegedly violating that order of protection.

Court records show the order of protection was filed by Cotton's mother, and that he disputed her claims. He also has a pending criminal case in St. Louis involving allegation of domestic assault. Cotton told a bail officer that he was homeless and working part-time jobs he got through a temp agency. 

He was charged by complaint in U.S. District Court on Friday with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

His lawyer, Justin Gelfand, said, “We intend to vigorously fight the charge and look forward to defending this case in court.” Cotton was in court Tuesday for a brief hearing.

The shooting victim is not identified, but the circumstances match the fatal shooting of Rodnell Cotton. He shot a police officer in the leg before being shot by a different officer, police have said. Police officers and U.S. marshals were trying to arrest him on a May 16 federal indictment on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Robert Patrick is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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