The man, 23, had taken energy drinks and a package of pastries from a nearby convenience store, Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters. He said that the man was “acting erratically, walking back and forth, up and down the street.”
The chief said that the officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife. The chief said the man answered: “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” He said the man moved toward one of the officers and came within 3 to 4 feet.
“One of the witnesses described it as a suicide by cop,” Dotson said.
The shooting took place about three miles from Ferguson, where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer on Aug. 9, touching off more than a week of protests and clashes between police and demonstrators.
Asked about tensions in the St. Louis area, the chief said: “I think anyone who has been watching television over the last week has to be concerned. ... I think it’s important people understand what happened.”
Read more from NBC News.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.