Ferguson protesters spar with police; 31 arrests, 2 shootings

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FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Missouri Governor Nixon ordered the National Guard into a St. Louis suburb early Monday morning.  Over the past week demonstrations have erupted over the police shooting death of Michael Brown.  Monday night was a test to see how those protesters and military police would interact.

Peaceful protests began early in the evening near the Family Dollar in Ferguson.  St. Louis rapper Nelly arrived to speak to the crowds.  Media, protesters and fans gathered around him as he spoke.  He told protesters that they had every right to have their voices heard.  But, they shouldn’t break the law.

The burned QuikTrip was a focal point for protesters.  Police set up a perimeter around the gas station and told protester to keep moving.  If they didn’t comply they would be arrested.

Protesters marched up ad down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson until about 9:30pm.  That is when the mood in the area seemed to change.  Protesters threw bottles at police.  Officers responded by charging at the protesters.  They asked the crowds to stop harassing them, and the protesters heeded their call.

A back and forth between police and protesters continued through the evening.  Each side escalating their tactics until finally, tensions broke into arrests and smoke.  Canisters of tear gas were fired near the QuikTrip and Red’s Barbecue.  Police brought in tactical vehicles and told protesters to go home through a bull horn.  They told the credentialed media to move to a special designated area. They told media to leave after shots were fired.  Crowds largely dispersed after the gas was deployed.

Police told reporters that 31 people were arrested and at least two people were shot.  One person was shot in the hand and taken to Barnes Jewish Hospital.  There were two fires, one at a business and one at an unoccupied residence.  Some of the protesters arrested came from as far away as New York and California.

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson Held a press conference at 2:30am.  He said that Four police officers were hit by rocks and bottles when 200 people marched on police.  Yet, no bullets were fired by police.  They also revealed two guns seized from suspects near the media staging area. A Molotov Cocktail was was also on display for the media.

Capt. Johnson concluded the press conference by saying, “If we’re going to solve this, we’re going to have to do this together.”

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