FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A candlelight vigil for an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a suburban St. Louis police officer was followed by unrest as crowds looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted officers who tried to block access to parts of the city.
Streets in Ferguson upended on Sunday night were relatively quiet early Monday. Some debris littered the area but crowds had dispersed.
St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said 32 people were arrested for various infractions including assault, burglary and theft. Schellman said two officers suffered minor injuries and that there were no reports of civilians hurt.
The tensions erupted after a candlelight vigil Sunday night for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times Saturday in a scuffle with an officer. The investigation into what led to the shooting was ongoing.
Though police have said that Brown was involved in a scuffle with the officer who shot him, other reports say eyewitnesses at the scene and the friend with him said that Brown was confronted by police, words were exchanged and he was shot while his hands were up.
Photos on social media show an uncovered Brown dead in the street for a undetermined time, as police blocked access to the apartment buildings where Brown was shot. Twitter users in Ferguson as well as a local reporter highlighted the unrest, as well as the call for an investigation that finds out exactly what happened.
County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that on Saturday, an officer encountered Brown and another man outside an apartment complex in Ferguson. One of the men pushed the officer into his squad car and they struggled. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car. It was not clear if Brown was the man who fought with the officer.
The struggle spilled out into the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn’t known and that all shell casings at the scene matched the officer’s gun. Police were investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.
Jackson said the second person has not been arrested or charged and it wasn’t clear if he was armed.
Eyewitnesses dispute this account, saying that the police version of events is not what happened.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told KSDK-TV there’s no video footage of the shooting from the apartment complex, or from any police cruiser dashboard cameras or body-worn cameras that the department recently bought but hasn’t yet put to use.
Jackson said blood samples were taken from Brown and the officer who shot him. Toxicology tests can take weeks to complete.