One man critically wounded by cops as Ferguson erupts in gunfire

Following a day of peaceful protest premised on the notion that the late Michael Brown had been an innocent “gentle giant,” not the perpetrator of a strongarm robbery videotaped moments before his demise exactly one year ago, Ferguson, Missouri once again erupted in violence yesterday.  (For evidence on the death of Brown, see “What Would Have Happened in a Trial of Officer Darren Wilson.”)

USA Today reports that shooting broke out between two groups of heretofore “peaceful” protestors:

An earlier shootout broke out between two groups and the suspect ran away and was spotted by police detectives in an unmarked vehicle, which began driving toward him with the emergency lights activated, a police statement said. He fired on the vehicle, hitting it a number of times. The four detectives left the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with the man, and the suspect was shot multiple times, the statement added.

"There is a small group of people who are intent on making sure we don't have peace. That's unfortunate," [St. Louis County Police Chief Jon] Belmar said. "We can't afford to have this kind of violence."

He said there were probably six different shooters involved in the shoot-out that preceded the officer-involved shooting. All four officers have been put on administrative leave.

CNN’s report adds some further details:

… the suspect's gunfire shifted the focus Sunday night.

When officers first saw him, he was running away after allegedly exchanging gunfire with an unknown person.

Some gunfire rang out as reporters were talking to Ferguson's acting police chief, Andre Anderson. A startled Anderson continued speaking with a steady burst of gunfire in the background. Crowds scattered.

Detectives in an unmarked SUV turned on its emergency lights and pursued him, only to be shot at, according to Belmar. The bullets hit the vehicle's hood and windshield several times, Belmar said.

As the detectives got out of the car, the suspect allegedly turned around and fired again.

Then he ran toward a fenced area, where he continued firing -- until officers struck him multiple times, Belmar said.

It appears clear from both that the wounded man intiated fire, and that prior to any police involvement, gunfire was underway.  Nevertheless, we can anticipate blame being placed on police; in fact, an accusatory tone is already underway at the site of the shooting, according to USA Today:

Moments after the shots were fired, a young woman screamed, "They killed my brother. They shot my brother."

The identity of the man the woman referred to was not clear, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified him as Tyrone Harris, 18, a close friend of Brown's.

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