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ST. LOUIS A 23-year-old man armed with a knife is dead after two police officers shot him in north St. Louis.

Chief Sam Dotson with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says at 12:20 p.m. officers received a call for a disturbance in the area of Riverview Boulevard and McLaran Avenue.

Dotson says the suspect entered a nearby convenience store and walked out carrying two energy drinks. The store owner asked him to stop, but let him walk out the door. Dotson says a few minutes later the suspect came back inside the store, took a package of pastries, and started to walk back outside.

According to Dotson, the store owner followed the suspect out of the store and asked him to pay for the items. He says the suspect threw the pastries into the street, and the store owner called police.

Dotson says several witnesses, including a St. Louis alderman, watched as the suspect acted erratically. They told police he was armed with a knife, pacing up and down the street, and talking to himself.

When police arrived, they say the suspect walked toward them clutching his waistband. They say he then pulled out a knife and held it up in what Dotson described as an 'overhand grip.'

The officers, who were still in the patrol vehicle, say the suspect yelled, 'Shoot me now, kill me now.' The police officers yelled at the man to drop the knife, but Dotson says the suspect did not respond to verbal commands. Witnesses say they heard police giving verbal commands to the suspect to drop the knife.

Dotson says one officer got out of the patrol car, and when the suspect displayed his knife, the officers drew their weapons.

According to Dotson, the suspect walked toward the officer still sitting in the patrol car, and when he moved between three and four feet from the vehicle holding the knife, both officers fired their weapons, striking him.

Dotson says police are checking to see if there is any surveillance video of the incident.

The knife was recovered at the scene.

When Dotson was asked if he believes the shooting was justified, he said his officers 'have the right to go home at night' and that every officer has the right to defend themselves and the community.

The unidentified suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, which is located approximately four miles from the unrest in Ferguson.

Within an hour of the shooting, a crowd had gathered in the area, chanting 'Hands up! Don't shoot!'

Alderman Antonio French told NewsChannel 5 he has talked to the community gathering at the scene and reminded them this isn't Ferguson, and implored them not to act violently.

Dotson talked to the crowd, and French says Dotson answered questions and told them it will be a quick investigation.

French says tensions are high since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in nearby Ferugson. He has reminded the gathering crowd that this isn't Ferguson, and there's no need for violence. He says the scene was processed quickly and officers respected the suspect's body.

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