Friends of Antonio Martin find it hard to believe he pulled a gun on an officer

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BERKELEY, MO (KPLR) - At the Mobil station where the trouble began late Tuesday night, there is a small memorial to Antonio Martin, 18, who died on the parking lot after he was shot and killed by a Berkeley Police Officer.

Police say security camera video from the station clearly shows Martin pointed a gun at the officer.

There were violent protests in the hours immediately after the shooting, but the number of protesters who returned in the daylight was never more than two or three at a time, and most of the time there was none. However a vigil did begin to take place Wednesday evening.

'He is well known around here,' said one of the protesters, who claims to be a friend of Martin but would only give his first name, Devon.

'If you were that type of person to move with a weapon, you would have a weapon on you all the time no matter where you are and he wasn`t that type of person,' Devon said.

Family members acknowledge Antonio Martin was a troubled teenager. Our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report Martin took medication for hyperactivity and that condition may have contributed to his dropping out high school according to his family.

But his parents say despite his arrest record, they did not think of him as a violent.

Some residents worried about other deadly interactions between young African-American men and the police seem ready to consider this case an outlier.

'I think that the cop was well within his rights,' said resident Kimberly Talley, who is African-American. 'This is not like the Mike Brown situation, the boy had a gun, he pointed it at the officer, you can plainly see that from the tapes,' she said.

Other worry folding this situation in with the Brown and Garner cases could damage whatever progress has been made to improve relations between the community and police since the shooting in Ferguson.

'I feel passionate about it but when you have an incident like this where it is quote unquote `justified,` then how can you protest something like this?' asked one young African-American man who declined to give his name, but expressed his concerns about the violent protests after Martin was shot.

'I don`t think they were wrong, I think their passion was misplaced,' he said.

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