Ferguson Protests Marred By Gunfire - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Ferguson Protests Marred By Gunfire

Posted: Updated:
The chief said an estimated six shooters unleashed a "remarkable" amount of gunfire over about 45 seconds. The chief said an estimated six shooters unleashed a "remarkable" amount of gunfire over about 45 seconds.
FERGUSON, Missouri -

A man who opened fire on officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death was critically wounded when the officers shot back, St. Louis County's police chief said early Monday.

Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference that officers had been tracking the man, who they believed was armed, during a protest marking the death of Brown, the black, unarmed 18-year-old whose killing by a white Ferguson police officer touched off a national "Black Lives Matter" movement.

The man approached the officers, who were in an unmarked police van, and opened fire, Belmar said. The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle and then pursued the man on foot when he ran.

The man again fired on the officers, the chief said, and all four officers fired back. He was struck and fell.

The man was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in "critical, unstable" condition in surgery.

Authorities didn't immediately release the identities of anyone involved, but Tyrone Harris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the injured man was his son, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr. The elder Harris told the newspaper shortly after 3 a.m. that his son had just gotten out of surgery.

None of the officers was seriously injured. All four have been put on standard administrative leave. They were not wearing body cameras, Belmar said.

The shooting happened shortly after what the chief called "an exchange of gunfire between two groups" rang out around 11:15 p.m. Sunday while protesters were gathered on West Florissant Avenue, a business zone that saw rioting and looting last year after Brown's killing.

The shots sent protesters and journalists running for cover, reports CBS News producer Jonathan Blakely, who was among them.

The chief said an estimated six shooters unleashed a "remarkable" amount of gunfire over about 45 seconds.

Belmar waved off any notion that the people with the weapons were part of the protest.

"They were criminals. They weren't protesters," he said.

The man who fired on officers had a semi-automatic 9MM gun that was stolen last year from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, according to the chief.

"There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that peace doesn't prevail," he said. "There are a lot of emotions. I get it. But we can't sustain this as we move forward."

He appealed for the public's help:

Separately, St. Louis County police said two young males were injured in what appears to have been a drive-by shooting near a monument to Michael Brown.

Spokesperson Shawn McGuire said in an email to The Associated Press that the 17-year-old and 19-year-olds told officers they were walking around 2:15 a.m. Monday near the Canfield Apartments in Ferguson when an unknown black man shot at them from the back of a passing vehicle.

McGuire says the 17-year-old was shot in the chest and shoulder and the 19-year-old was shot in the chest. He says both are being treated at a hospital and that neither has life-threatening injuries.

The anniversary of the killing, which cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities, has sparked days of renewed protests, though until Sunday they had been peaceful and without any arrests.

Before the gunfire, protesters were blocking traffic and confronting police. One person threw a glass bottle at officers but missed.

For the first time in three consecutive nights of demonstrations, some officers were dressed in riot gear, including bullet-proof vests and helmets with shields.

One officer was treated for cuts related to a brick thrown at his face, Belmar said. Police made an unknown number of arrests, and at one point early Monday shot smoke to disperse the crowd that lingered on West Florissant, he said, discounting reports that tear gas had been used.

Two officers were pepper sprayed by protesters, police said.

Earlier in the evening, two businesses were broken into. Bowen's Beauty Supply Store on West Florissant was vandalized around 8:30 p.m. Police believe the person stole a cash register but then dropped the register outside a nearby store and fled, KMOV says.

Someone later threw a glass bottle towards officers. Police with riot gear then arrived.

Several other peaceful events earlier Sunday were held to mark the anniversary.

Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., led a march through town. It started at the site where Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November.

Later, a few hundred people turned out at Greater St. Mark Family Church for a service to remember Brown, with his father joining other relatives sitting behind the pulpit.

His family and members of the community released doves in his honor, reports CBS News correspondent Don Champion.

Brown Sr. spoke about his last year of grief.

"You know, I loved my boy. This ain't no game to me. This is serious to me."

But he added that his son "made the movement to open up eyes to help other families. I still look at it - yeah I lost - but he's still working right now."

Organizers of some of the weekend activities pledged a day of civil disobedience on Monday, but have not offered specific details.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Featured On News9.com

  • Consumer Watch

    Been a victim of a scam? The Consumer Watch team investigates and gives helpful advice.

  • Local News

    Get the latest breaking news, current events and headlines affecting Oklahomans.

  • My 2 Cents

    Join Kelly Ogle in a community conversation about important Oklahoma issues.

  • 9 Investigates

    Are you aware of incidents of fraud, corruption, government waste? We investigate.

Powered by Frankly
News 9
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
News9.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 KWTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.