Fires, Vandalism, Looting Follow Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Fires, Vandalism, Looting Follow Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

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Flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses in Ferguson late Monday and early Tuesday. [CBS] Flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses in Ferguson late Monday and early Tuesday. [CBS]
Protesters smashed windows out of police cars and buildings. [CBS] Protesters smashed windows out of police cars and buildings. [CBS]
FERGUSON, Missouri -

Protests quickly turned violent in the Ferguson area Monday night after it was announced that a St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The decision not to charge Wilson, who is white, in the death of Brown, who was black and unarmed, sparked the fresh demonstrations in and around Ferguson, and in cities around the nation.

Flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses in Ferguson late Monday and early Tuesday and gunfire kept firefighters at bay once demonstrations turned ugly, despite pleas for peace from Brown's family and others.

Protesters smashed windows out of police cars and buildings, several of which were later looted and set ablaze, and officers lobbed tear gas from inside armored vehicles to disperse crowds in scenes reminiscent of the early days of unrest that followed the August 9 shooting.

The new violence quickly took a more destructive turn - a storage facility, two auto parts stores, a beauty supply store and pizza shop were just some of the businesses that burned.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said during a news conference early Tuesday that he "personally heard about 150 shots fired" during the course of the night, but said police did not fire a shot. He said most of at least a dozen burned businesses were "total losses" and noted two police cars were "basically melted."

"I don't think we were under-prepared," Belmar said. "But I'll be honest with you: Unless we bring 10,000 policemen in here, I don't think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community."

"What I've seen tonight is probably much worse than the worst nightmare we ever had in August," he said.

"I said several months ago during an interview what would be the worst thing that could possibly happen and the fact of the matter is, I said, to tear the fabric of this community apart. And frankly, that has happened here tonight."

Smashed window glass littered the sidewalks around many other businesses, from mom-and-pop shops to a McDonalds along the main drag. Ferguson Market and Liquor- where surveillance video had recorded Brown stealing cigars minutes before he was killed - was ransacked.

At least one building and several vehicles in a used car lot also burned in the neighboring city of Dellwood.

The vast majority of protesters had left the streets by late Monday, but looting and gunfire still were reported well after midnight.

A CBS News producer on-scene says the demonstrators were not the ones doing the looting in Ferguson Monday night and early Tuesday.

Authorities reported at least 29 arrests and a handful of injuries.

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