A friend of Michael Brown is in a ‘critical, unstable condition’ after being shot by police when he used a stolen handgun to fire on officers during a protest to mark the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s controversial death.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that plainclothes officers were tracking the man at around 11:15pm, while several hundred people gathered on West Florissant Street to take part in the demonstration.
He added that the man approached the officers, who were in an unmarked police car and opened fire. The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle. They then pursued the man on foot. The chief said the man again fired on the officers and all four fired back.
The suspect has been identified as 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Junior by his father, who revealed that his son was a ‘real close’ school friend of the late Michael Brown. ‘We think there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said,’ Harris Senior was quoted as saying in local media reports.
Footage shot by protester Tony Rice, who was live-tweeting near a McDonald’s under the Twitter name @search4swag, showed a black man lying face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back and a large blood stain on his torso. Two police officers can be seen standing over him with their guns drawn but do not assist him.
Rice, who was arrested for filming the footage, can be heard saying to the officers repeatedly: ‘Please give him some help! He’s bleeding out man, please give him some help.’
Speaking at a press conference in the early hours of Monday morning, Belmar said that plainclothes officers had been tracking the man, who they believed was armed, during the protests when he spotted them and opened fire.
The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle. They then pursued the man on foot. The chief said the man once again fired on the officers, with all four continuing to fire back.
Shortly afterwards the suspect was identified by his father, the St Louis Post Dispatch reported.
Harris said shortly after 3am local time that his son had just left emergency surgery, adding that he’d recently graduated from Normandy High School, Missouri – the same school Michael Brown had attended.
Describing their relationship, Mr Harris said his son and the late 18-year-old had been ‘real close’, adding: ‘We think there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said.’
Tensions have been high in Ferguson following a second bout of looting. At least 12 shots were fired and the crowd scattered and sped off in cars.
The situation began to escalate just after 10pm when a Ferguson police officer told the protesters on a megaphone: ‘Remaining in the street is a violation of law. You must move onto the sidewalk or be subject to arrest’.
Police put on helmets and riot shields and formed a line. Protesters walked up and down the line saying: ‘F*** you’ to every officer until the shots rang out.
Paul Hampel, a reporter with the St Louis Post Dispatch, was beaten up and robbed. He had blood coming down the right side of his face and asked other journalists for a phone to call his wife.
In another looting incident, rioters smashed the glass front door of a beauty store on West Florissant Avenue and tried to get into other shops on the same strip.
A group of a dozen youths in their early 20s were seen running away as alarms rang out.
Police officers in cars and SUVs surrounded Bowen Beauty Supply, which had been smashed, as well as Ferguson Laundry, the Nail Trap nail salon, Ferguson Burger restaurant and another beauty store.
The looting took place despite the pouring rain and even though dozens of police were stationed close by.
Before the looting took place around 9pm, protesters had walked up and down West Florissant Avenue holding their arms up in the rain shouting, ‘Fight back, shoot back’ and ‘No justice, no peace’.
A cash register was stolen from Bowen’s Beauty Store and found dumped further up the street, St Louis Post Dispatch reporter Paul Hempel tweeted.
Shortly afterwards, a glass fitter measured the front door of the beauty store that had been smashed and put a board over it.
At a barbers store, the owners stood out the front in a show of force to stop others from looting.
Writing on Twitter Anthony French, a city Alderman whose ward covers Ferguson, branded the thieves as ‘opportunistic criminals (who) used the cover of rain’. He called them ‘pathetic and disappointing’.
On West Florissant Avenue a stand off ensued with protesters blocking traffic whilst 30 police stood by watching.
St Louis County officers wore bullet proof vests, gloves and had pepper spray and white plastic hand ties on their utility belts.
Among the officers present were Ferguson interim police chief Andre Anderson, St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar and Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk