Ferguson Protests Marred By Gunfire


Monday, August 10th 2015, 8:06 am
By: News On 6


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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report