Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of the US Conference of Mayors, called me this morning and asked me if I wanted to forward a message to other mayors following last night's shooting in the Shaw neighborhood.
This is what I said:
Yesterday afternoon, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and I spoke to many of you about nearby Ferguson, MO - the lessons we had learned from it and what we had done in our own city. On the way home, we found that we would be testing our words: An off-duty St. Louis police officer exchanged gunfire with a man, killing him. A crowd, including some people who had been demonstrating earlier in the evening in Ferguson, gathered.
Chief Dotson and his department responded with restraint - and transparency. Officers addressed the crowd directly with all the information that was available. The department used its social media accounts to pass along what it knew. The department was supported at the scene by community and neighborhood members with whom they had built relationships in the past. There were no arrests.
The matter will be investigated by several agencies, including the department's own newly formed police-involved shooting team, the Force Investigation Unit. The results of the investigations will be shared with the public.
I wanted to give you that update, and I especially wanted to ask you to take a message back home to your constituents and to those who represent us in state capitols and in Congress. There are too many guns in our cities. The man who was killed was reportedly carrying a gun that he could not legally be carrying while on bail for a previous felony gun charge. It is as unlikely that he acquired the gun legally, as it is likely that gun was originally acquired legally by someone. Our neighborhoods will not be safe until there is federal - or, failing that, state - action to stop the flow of handguns through our cities. I have repeatedly called for that in St. Louis. Please lend your voice to mine.