FERGUSON, MO. — Protesters smashed windows out of police cars and businesses, several of which were later set ablaze, and officers lobbed tear gas from inside armored vehicles to disperse crowds Monday as violence overtook protests in Ferguson.
Some of the hundreds of people who gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department erupted in anger as St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s announced that Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, wouldn’t be indicted in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed.
Protesters overran a barricade and taunted police. Some chanted “murderer” and others threw rocks and bottles. Gun shots rang out a several points during the night, though it was not immediately clear if anyone was hit or any arrests were made related to the gunfire.
The windows of a police car were smashed and protesters tried to topple it before it was set on fire, though some in the crowd tried to stop others from taking part in the violence. Officers responded by firing what authorities said was smoke and pepper spray into the crowd. St. Louis County Police later confirmed tear gas also was used.
A storage unit and a Little Caesar’s pizza shop were among buildings that burned.
When McCulloch read his statement, a crowd gathered around a car from which the news conference was broadcast on a stereo. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, sat atop the car. When the decision was announced, she burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.
A short time later, Brown’s family issued a statement asking people to keep their protests peaceful.
“Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction,” the statement said.
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