A man identified as a close friend of the late Michael Brown is the suspect who allegedly fired on police and was then shot in a return-fire incident — the latest police-involved shooting to rock Ferguson, Mo. The gunfire broke out after a day of peaceful protests and remembrances to mark the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was cleared of any wrongdoing.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 18-year-old suspect reportedly fired multiple shots at four St. Louis County plainclothes detectives who were monitoring the crowds on the streets of Ferguson.
In its coverage of the overnight violence, the newspaper quotes St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar:
…Belmar said there is a “small group of people out there that are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails.”
“We can’t sustain this as a community,” he said.
The chief also pointed out that, in addition to the shooting involving the detectives, there was other gun violence that shattered the peaceful demonstrations — gunfire that Belmar attributed to “criminals” and not protestors.
Belmar said two groups of people exchanged gunfire on the west side of West Florissant Avenue at the same time the shooting took place, shortly after 11 p.m. Shots were heard for 40-50 seconds, Belmar said. “It was a remarkable amount of gunfire,” he said.
The man who allegedly shot at the detectives and was then critically wounded when the officers returned fire used a stolen handgun to shoot at the SUV in which the detectives were riding, according to a Fox News report on the renewed violence in Ferguson.
The suspect had a semi-automatic 9MM gun that was stolen last year from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, according to the chief.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave, in keeping with standard practice after police-involved shootings. Belmar said none of the officers, who have between 6 and 12 years of experience, was seriously injured.
Fox News also says that several businesses were looted, and at least one police officer was injured by a flying object thrown his way during the flareup of violence that followed the day-long demonstrations.
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