WASHINGTON - Police said Wednesday a black teenager was shot dead after he allegedly pointed a gun at an officer in a town near Ferguson, Missouri, scene of a prior police shooting that sparked nationwide protests.

The incident took place late Tuesday at a gas station, while the officer was on a routine patrol. A crowd of about 100 protesters gathered at the scene in Berkeley, located some two miles (3.2 kilometers) from Ferguson, where a white police officer fatally shot an 18-year-old unarmed black man in August. Local television reported that someone in the crowd lobbed fireworks into the gas station, and police used pepper spray to try to subdue the crowd as tensions rose. St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said in a statement that the officer from the city of Berkeley was conducting a routine check at the gas station when he noticed two men and approached them. Schellman said one of the men then pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer.

"Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him."

News reports, however, said some eyewitnesses disputed that account.

The victim was identified by local media, citing his mother, as 18-year-old Antonio Martin."His girlfriend told me that the police was messing with them," the woman, who gave her name as Toni Martin, told reporters."When he was trying to get up and run, they started shooting him. They won't tell me nothing. They won't even let me see my baby," she said.

Local officials, who reportedly were planning a press conference later Wednesday, were said to have video footage of the shooting recorded by a security camera at the gas station. Police said a handgun had been recovered at the scene and added that the second man had fled.

The shooting is the latest in several such incidents that led to months of protests over how police in the United States interact with the country's black community.

It follows the racially-charged fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson in August.

Already tense racial relations were further frayed over the weekend fatal shootings of two officers in Brooklyn, by an apparently emotionally disturbed man whose online postings suggested he was motivated by a desire for revenge over the recent police killings of unarmed black men.