Man shot near Fer­gu­son protest crit­i­cally in­jured: po­lice

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JIM SAL­TER AND JIM SUHR

A man who opened fire on of­fi­cers in Fer­gu­son, a town in the cen­tral U.S. state of Mis­souri, on the an­niver­sary of an un­armed black teen’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 Michael Brown’s, the 18-yearold whose killing by a white Fer­gu­son po­lice of­fi­cer touched off a na­tional de­bate over po­lice treat­ment of mi­nori­ties and the “Black Lives Mat­ter” move­ment.

The an­niver­sary of Brown’s killing has sparked days of re­newed protests, though un­til Sun­day they had been peace­ful and with­out any ar­rests. 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. Po­lice at one point early Mon­day shot smoke to dis­perse a lin­ger­ing crowd, Bel­mar said.

The shoot­ing hap­pened shortly af­ter a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent that the chief called “an ex­change of gun­fire be­tween two groups” rang out around 11:15 p.m. Sun­day while protesters were gath­ered in a busi­ness zone that saw ri­ot­ing and loot­ing last year af­ter Brown’s killing. The shots sent protesters and re­porters run­ning for cover.

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. 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 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.”

Early Mon­day, another re­ported shoot­ing drew of­fi­cers to an apart­ment build­ing in the area. Two men told po­lice they were tar­geted in a drive-by shoot­ing near a me­mo­rial to Brown. A 17-year old was shot in the chest and shoul­der while a 19-year-old was shot in the chest, but their in­juries were not life-threat­en­ing, the St. Louis County Po­lice said in a news re­lease.

Glass Bot­tle Thrown

at Of­fi­cers

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

One of­fi­cer was treated for cuts af­ter a rock was thrown at his face, and two of­fi­cers were pep­per- sprayed by protesters, county po­lice spokesman Of­fi­cer Shawn McGuire said in an email. Five peo­ple were ar­rested, ac­cord­ing to records McGuire re­leased.

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

Brown’s f ather, 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.

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

AFP

(Right) A woman holds a poster with the pic­ture of po­lice of­fi­cer Dar­ren Wil­son dur­ing a Michael Brown me­mo­rial rally on Union Square in New York, Sun­day.

(Left) Protesters march in the rain in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, Sun­day, Aug. 9.

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