Demonstrators returned to the streets Tuesday night in the St. Louis suburb where weeks of violent protests erupted last month after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.
KSDK-TV reported police responded to a break-in at Beauty Town, a beauty supply store in Ferguson, Mo., on West Florissant Avenue, where hundreds of protesters marched for weeks after 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, was killed Aug. 9. On Tuesday night, a group smashed the windows. Some started shouting, “Burn it down!,” according to reports on social media from St. Louis Alderman Antonio Brown.
Several gunshots were then reported, and St. Louis County Police told KMOV-TV that officers arrived on the scene after some 200 people began to gather about 9 p.m. Central time. It’s unclear if the gunshots were related to the break-in.
“This is the third time we’ve been hit,” owner of Beauty Town told KMOV.
Witnesses told reporters that police tried to disperse the crowd, and workers at the Ferguson Market and Convenience store, next door to Beauty Town, boarded up its windows as a precaution.
Earlier in the day, a memorial built near the spot where Brown was killed burned down in a fire. It’s not clear how the fire began — by accident or on purpose — though it’s routinely surrounded by burning candles, Ferguson’s fire chief told The Washington Post. The incident angered many people.
Tom Jackson, the chief of Ferguson’s police department, said Tuesday in a statement that police are investigating what happened.
“To anyone who believes we didn’t do everything in our power to put this fire out I want to apologize and let you know that was not the case,” he said.
Within hours of the fire, residents had started to rebuild the memorial.
Activists continue to question why police officer Darren Wilson had not been indicted more than a month after he shot Brown. Investigations by a state grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice are ongoing.