ST. LOUIS — A day of remembrance for Michael Brown, Jr. quickly turned violent late Sunday when police shot a man they said opened fire on them in Ferguson, Missouri close to where demonstrators gathered.
St. Louis County police Chief Jon Belmar said the suspect, who officials had not identified, is hospitalized in “critical and unstable” condition.
Belmar said the man, who he estimated to be about 20, was not a part of the civil rights demonstrations, which drew several hundred protesters to the streets of Ferguson Sunday evening. Instead, Belmar said, the man was among a group of suspected looters who later got into a gun battle with another person and possibly others.
“They were criminals, they weren’t protesters,” the chief said. “Protesters are out there talking about a way to affect change, whatever that may be.”
When the suspect spotted undercover officers tracking him in a vacant lot behind some businesses, he turned and fired on their unmarked police car with a stolen 9mm handgun, Belmar said.
All four officers from the car returned and have been placed on routine administrative leave.
“These are tragedies, make no mistake,” Belmar said during an early-morning news conference.
The burst of gunshots erupted as other officers were seeking to disperse a crowd of several hundred demonstrators who began blocking traffic along a main Ferguson thoroughfare. A news crew captured the chaos of the moment, as unsuspecting citizens scrambled for cover.
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A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.