St. Louis-area civic leaders are expressing frustration after peaceful protests devolved into unrest on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, Junior, Sunday. One man was shot by St. Louis County police near the scene of a protest last night after, police say, he fired multiple times at plainclothes detectives in an SUV.
A man told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the man is his son, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, Junior. He was reported to be in critical and unstable condition early this morning.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said a 9mm Sig Sauer was recovered from the scene. It had been stolen in Cape Girardeau, last year. The four detectives involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard practice after an officer-involved shooting.
Belmar called the shooting a tragedy for all involved.
He said the exchange between detectives and Harris at about 11:10 Sunday night followed a shootout between two groups in which, he estimated, 45 to 50 shots were fired in a span of about 45 seconds.
Belmar was quick to distinguish those responsible for violence from protesters.
“No, they’re criminals. They weren’t protesters. Protesters were people that were out there that were talking about a way to effect change, whatever that may be,” said Belmar. “There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that we don’t have peace that prevails.”
Early this morning state and local police began to order protesters off the streets.
“Failure to disperse the area immediately may result in your arrest, detention, and/or exposure to chemical and less-lethal munitions,” authorities ordered. Smoke bombs were later fired into the crowds.
— Patricia Bynes (@PatriciaBynes) August 10, 2015
Planned events earlier in the day marked the anniversary with discussions of what progress has been made in dealing with civil rights and policy issues and what remains to be resolved, and a gathering of hundreds around the site on Canfield Drive in Ferguson where Brown was fatally shot a year ago by a Ferguson police officer.
During a heavy rain storm around 9 p.m., someone broke into a beauty supply store and tried to get away with the cash register, but ended up leaving it in front of another store. A short time later a Post-Dispatch reporter was robbed and assaulted.
Belmar said one officer was taken to a hospital after being struck in the face with a brick, but did not know that officer’s condition.