FERGUSON, MO – Hundreds of demonstrators faced off with police in front of the federal court house in St. Louis as the residents of Ferguson and the surround area found themselves under a state of emergency.
The declaration places the police chief of St. Louis County in charge of law enforcement for Ferguson following Sunday’s day of peace that turned into a night of violence.
The day was supposed to be a time to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in a controversial police shooting that led to riots, arson, and looting in Ferguson, and protests in cities across the country.
But when the sun went down, protesters came out, again, and police lined up to face them, once more.
Plain-clothes detectives had been watching a group of armed individuals when members of that group and a second group started shooting at each other.
Ferguson’s acting police chief was giving an interview when the first shots rang out.
Police say that one of the suspects started shooting at police officers chasing him in an unmarked vehicle with lights flashing.
Four detectives exchanged gunfire with the suspect, hitting him several times, but not killing him.
“There is a small group of people out there who are intent on making sure that we don't have peace that prevails,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters. “I don't know how else to say that, but that's just the bottom line in this.”
A gunman shooting from the backseat of a car hit two teens in the chest, but both survived. And three police officers were also injured, one hit by a brick.
“We have other individuals out there who are armed right now who are part of this group,” Belmar said. “We need the public's help. We can't do it by ourselves.”
To go from moments of silence to moments of violence in a single day are indications that the people of Ferguson still have a long road ahead.