Police Shoot 19-Year-Old As Gun Violence Flares In Ferguson, Mo.
Four days after the murder of an unarmed black teenager at the hands local police, both justice and calm continue to elude the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri. At least two people were injured in separate shootings throughout North County, shortly after police used riot gear and tear gas for the third consecutive night to disperse peaceful demonstrators.
One woman was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting some time after midnight, according to the Riverfront Times. Images of a female protestor in an ambulance circulated on social media, but neither police nor local media have confirmed the identity of the woman. The injuries are not expected to be life-threatening and no suspects have been found.
St. Louis County police also shot and critically wounded a 19-year-old male just east of Ferguson, about one mile away from where a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Police were responding to reports of four to five men wearing ski masks and armed with shotguns. The incident occurred shortly after police started firing tear gas at demonstrators.
After police spotted "multiple subjects running," a county officer fired on one of the subjects after he allegedly pulled a handgun on the officer, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The suspect was shot multiple times and is in critical condition.
"In fear for his life, the officer shot the subject," St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman told local CBS affiliate KMOV.
The St. Louis suburb has been rocked by a series of tense standoffs with a militarized police force after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday. Brown was walking on the street when he was engaged by a police officer in a patrol car; the details surrounding the incident that followed are unclear. Promises to reveal the identity of the shooter were reneged by local law enforcement yesterday amid security concerns.
Police say Brown was killed during an altercation after the teenager tried to grab the officer's firearm. That account is in dispute by Dorian Johnson, who was walking with Brown at the time. Another eyewitness also came forward and contacted the NAACP, corroborating Johnson's testimony that Brown never tried to grab the officer's weapon and was shot multiple times with his hands in the air.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told KMOV this morning that the police officer involved in the fatal shooting suffered injuries from the altercation and the "side of his face was swollen." The department doubled down on its decision to not release the identity of the shooter, and also announced county police will not be releasing further autopsy details on Brown until toxicology tests are concluded. It is still unclear how many times the teenager was shot.
The obfuscation of the investigation has been coupled with the FAA decision to restrict the airspace above Ferguson—essentially eliminating aerial news feeds—and disturbing reports of police threatening journalists attempting to chronicle civil unrest.
The shootings came just hours after Rev. Al Sharpton pleaded for calm and patience at a nearby rally, and continued calls for nonviolent protests. But as police continue to respond with overwhelming force—"We rolled lighter than that in an actual war zone," a member of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division told Business Insider—the night promises no respite from tensions in Ferguson.