Updated at 2:35 a.m. with comments from Police Chief John Hayden
Four St. Louis police officers were shot late Monday night during protests in the city over the killing of George Floyd.
Two were shot in the leg, one in the arm and one in the foot, said Police Chief John Hayden. He was visibly frustrated as he gave an update on the shootings shortly before 2 a.m.
“Folks came down just to steal, just to destroy property and just to hurt officers,” Hayden said.
He said the four officers were standing near a police line when they were hit by gunfire. He did not know if more than one person fired the shots.
“I’m stunned, innocent officers being shot at,” Hayden said. “We need to pray for our city and pray for the officers.”
All were being treated at an area hospital.
When the department announced the shootings at 12:45 a.m. on Twitter, it said, “Officers are still taking gunfire downtown.”
When Hayden spoke to the media more than an hour later, he said police still didn't have the city under control.
The shootings came after a day of peaceful protests, but as the night wore on violence and vandalism erupted.
A 7-Eleven at 17th and Pine streets was looted and set on fire. A small fire was also reported at the Campbell House Museum.
Police used tear gas to try to disperse protesters.
Our original story
Protesters angered by the killing of a black man by Minneapolis police took to the streets of downtown St. Louis again Monday.
The protest over the killing of George Floyd remained nonviolent until well after dark, when police fired tear gas at protesters near their headquarters. A 7-Eleven at 17th and Pine streets was looted and set on fire.
A crowd of thousands gathered around 3:30 p.m., first in front of the jail across from City Hall, where they demanded that Mayor Lyda Krewson close a second jail, the Medium Security Institution in north St. Louis. The crowd then marched to the grounds of the Arch, kneeling in the shadow of the courthouse where Dred Scott sued for his freedom, a case he ultimately lost.
While at the Arch grounds, organizers included a number of interactive activities to engage protesters. One asked participants to step forward if a statement applied to them, such as having personally experienced violence by police. Protesters also wrote their grievances on Post-it notes and stuck them on the Arch.
Police monitored the march from a distance and directed traffic at intersections.
A smaller group of protesters that still numbered in the hundreds left the Arch grounds and walked onto Highway 40 to continue the protest around 6 p.m. Police allowed them to walk on the highway. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is assisting local police, said they were not aware of any arrests. St. Louis police did not immediately respond to an email asking if anyone had been arrested.
Protests continued at police department headquarters and elsewhere in downtown well into the night. St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Patrick tweeted around 8:45 p.m. that police had declared an illegal assembly and told protesters that they would be subject to “chemical munitions” if they did not leave. A federal judge ruled in 2015 that warnings were required for chemical agents such as tear gas, following protests during the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown.
Video streams from protesters seemed to indicate that tear gas or another substance was in fact used.
In O’Fallon, Missouri, on Monday night, a crowd estimated at over a thousand marched peacefully along Bryan Road to the city’s justice center, where they gathered for speakers. O’Fallon Police Chief Tim Clothier marched with the protesters. In a video posted on Twitter by St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson, Clothier said he was participating “to show we support their cause.”
Protesters also marched and rallied near the Capitol in Jefferson City on Monday night. A crowd estimated at 2,000 gathered peacefully, including a moment when National Guard members knelt with protesters. Two Guard members flashed signs of “I love you” to the crowd.
David Kovaluk, Jaclyn Driscoll and Fred Ehrlich contributed reporting for this story.
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