By Ann Rubin
(KSDK) - An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man inside Northwest Plaza this afternoon. But the officer's version of what happened is far different from what witnesses described at the scene.
The officer who shot and killed Antone L. Booker, 29, works for the Berkeley Police Department. Now outside investigators have been called in to determine what really happened inside the mall.
Investigators with St. Louis County Police say the officer was shopping just before 2 p.m. at the Man Alive store, when Booker repeatedly bumped into him. They say the officer told Booker he was under arrest. From there, a struggle ensued and Booker tried to take the officer's gun. Investigators say the officer feared for his safety and fired his weapon.
But witnesses tell a different version of events. One store manager said Booker spit at the officer and that's when he drew his gun. The manager said the officer did not identify himself as police, but proceeded to chase Booker around the store for several minutes.
The witness says the two went through an emergency exit, fought, then returned back into the store where the officer fired a shot.
Nasir Ahmed works at a mall kiosk across the hall. He came running. He also caught the aftermath on his video phone.
Ahmed says, "He (Booker) was conscious, he was moving but he wasn't saying anything when he was inside like trying to call for help." He adds, "We tried to help him but all we could do was call security or the police."
Booker died at the scene. The Berkeley officer was taken to the hospital with a hand injury. His identity has not been released.
St. Louis County Police continue to investigate the conflicting accounts.