It was a night of chaos once again overnight into Tuesday in the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown was fatally shot by police on August 9.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol noted that the night had begun with calm and orderly protests. However, bottles were later thrown, and police came under “heavy gunfire,” he said.
Pointing to seized Molotov cocktails and two seized guns displayed before him, Johnson told an early-morning press conference that police had been attacked throughout the night but had not fired a single bullet.
“These criminal acts came from a tiny minority of law-breakers,” he said. “It is criminals who throw Molotov cocktails, fire shots and endanger lives. These are not acts of protesters but acts of violence.”
At least two people were shot in the violent overnight melee, and 31 people were arrested — with some of those detained coming from New York and California, Johnson said.
He praised the restraint of police amid the chaos, saying he “heard the screams of officers under gunfire” throughout the night. Johnson insisted that the use of SWAT vehicles — which has drawn criticism — was necessary to protect lives and evacuate a gunshot victim.