ST. LOUIS • Police shot and killed a drug suspect at West Florissant and Acme avenues early Tuesday afternoon after a mile-long chase through the area, according to authorities.
Authorities identified the dead man as Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, of the 4800 block of Page Boulevard in St. Louis.
Two officers saw what they believed to be a drug transaction near a fast-food restaurant at Thekla Avenue and Riverview Boulevard after noon, according to Capt. Michael Sack. When police approached a car involved in the suspected drug transaction, they saw Smith reaching for something under the seat or between the seat and the center console.
Officers ordered Smith to stop and show his hands, but he put the car in gear and drove toward an officer, Sack said. The second officer, fearing for the first officer's safety, fired at Smith, Sack said.
It was unclear if Smith was hit by a bullet at that point. The car kept going and police pursued it to West Florissant and Acme, just west of Goodfellow Boulevard, where Smith lost control of his vehicle on the wet road, Sack said. The police SUV hit the vehicle.
When officers got out of their SUV, they again saw Smith reaching for something under the seat, Sack said. They repeatedly asked Smith to show his hands and, fearing he was trying to retrieve a weapon, fired when he did not comply, Sack said.
Smith was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"They wouldn't let me kiss him or hug him goodbye," said Smith's mother, Annie Smith.
The officers were not injured. The officer that fired at the suspect is 31 and has as been an officer for four years, the department said. He was put on paid leave, as is standard in such shootings.
Sack said officers found drugs and a gun in the suspect's vehicle, a silver sedan.
Court and Missouri Department of Corrections records show Smith faced theft, weapons and drug charges in the past and served prison time on at least some of those charges.
Kirkwin Taylor said he and his 5-year-old son went to the fast-food restaurant with Smith. Taylor said he was inside getting food when the incident with police started. He said there was no drug transaction and he doesn't believe his friend had a gun in his car.
"I wouldn't have had my son in there if there was a gun in there," he said.
Christina Wilson, 31, the pregnant girlfriend of Smith and mother of Smith's 1-year-old daughter, said she was on the phone with him when he was shot.
"He was crying for help," she said outside of the hospital. "I could hear him moaning, 'Oh, oh.'"
Christine Byers and David Carson of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.