Ferguson: Businesses ablaze, bullets fly in overnight mayhem - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ferguson: Businesses ablaze, bullets fly in overnight mayhem

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(NBC News) - Police said Tuesday that more than 150 shots were fired in the turbulent city of Ferguson, Missouri, in a night of unrest that followed a grand jury's decision not to charge the white officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

A dozen buildings burned, at least 29 people were arrested and looting was spotted in what police said was a worse outbreak of violence than anything Ferguson saw in the restive nights that followed the original shooting in August.

“Unless we bring 10,000 policemen in here, I don't think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community,” said Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis police.

Capt. Ron Johnson of the state Highway Patrol, the man credited with restoring peace following the violence three months ago, said that the community “has to take some responsibility for what happened tonight in terms of tearing our community apart.”

Belmar fired police fired no shots.

“As far as I know, we didn't cause any serious injuries," he said. "I didn't see a lot of peaceful protest tonight and I'm disappointed about that."

Officers were hit by rocks and batteries and police cars were set on fire. Tear gas was used, Belmar said. An elderly man was also carjacked. Belmar said he "personally heard" around 150 shots fired.
The violence came despite pleas from authorities in Missouri, the Brown family and President Barack Obama, who encouraged calm in a speech from the White House that took place while police were clashing with demonstrators in Ferguson.

After considering evidence for three months, the grand jury elected not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who fired 12 shots and killed Brown, 18, after an encounter on a residential street on Aug. 9.

The breakdown of a tense order came quickly after the announcement was delivered by a St. Louis prosecutor. Demonstrators hurled bottles and batteries at police, who put on riot gear and ordered crowds to disperse.

At a news conference overnight, Johnson added: “We talk about peaceful protest, and that didn't happen tonight. Change is created through our voice and not through destruction of our community. Right now, this community is really fractured.”

He said that small businesses had been destroyed along with the “dreams” of their owners.

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