Man 'critical' after officer-involved shooting; officers injured - KMOV.com

Check out this raw video from a very tense scene on W. Florissant Sunday night. Shots were fired during an interview with Interim Ferguson Police Chief Andre Anderson.

Posted by KMOV on Sunday, August 9, 2015
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Man 'critical' after officer-involved shooting; officers injured, arrests made in Ferguson

Posted: Updated:
A tweet from St. Louis County Police A tweet from St. Louis County Police
AP Photos AP Photos
Protesters march in the rain, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. Sunday marks one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Protesters march in the rain, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. Sunday marks one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A tweet from St. Louis County Police A tweet from St. Louis County Police
Police stand near a broken cash register in a parking lot after the front windows of a business were broken out along West Florissant Avenue. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Police stand near a broken cash register in a parking lot after the front windows of a business were broken out along West Florissant Avenue. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP/KMOV.com) - A man who opened fire on officers in Ferguson, Missouri, is in "critical, unstable" condition after being struck when the officers returned fire, the St. Louis County Police chief said early Monday.

Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference that plainclothes officers had been tracking the man, who they believed was armed, during a protest marking the anniversary of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting death by a Ferguson police officer touched off a national "Black Lives Matter" movement.

According to the St. Louis County Police Department, two people were firing gunshots at one another in the 9200 block of West Florissant around 11:10 p.m. Sunday. While exchanging gunfire, one of the suspects ran across a parking lot in the area and was spotted by St. Louis County Police Detectives, who were in an unmarked police van.

After spotting the suspect, the detectives turned on their emergency lights and drove toward the suspect, who, Belmar said, turned and began firing gunshots. The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle and then pursued the man on foot when he ran.

The man again fired on the officers, the chief said, and all four officers fired back. He was struck and fell.

The man was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in "critical, unstable" condition in surgery. 

Tyrone Harris was outside of the hospital after the suspect was brought in for treatment and identified the man as his son, Tyrone Harris Jr. Harris said witnesses told him his 18-year-old son was "running away from the situation, and police ended up shooting him.” He continued by stating that witnesses said his son did not have a gun and was in “the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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Harris told News 4 that Harris Jr. was in an intensive care unit after being shot in several places.

None of the officers was seriously injured. All four have been put on standard administrative leave.

The suspect’s gun, a .9mm semi-automatic firearm, reported stolen from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was recovered at the shooting scene, according to the St. Louis County Police Department.

According to the probable cause statement, Harris is charged with four counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, five counts of armed criminal action and one count of discharging or shooting a firearm at a motor vehicle.

The shooting happened while protesters were gathered on West Florissant Avenue, a business zone that saw rioting and looting last year after Brown's killing. The shots sent protesters and reporters running for cover.

The chief said an estimated six shooters unleashed a "remarkable" amount of gunfire over about 45 seconds.

A few hours after the officer-involved shooting, around 2:15 a.m., officers with the Ferguson Police Department were called to the Canfield Apartments after two male victims, ages 17 and 19, were shot. The victims told police they were walking on the sidewalk near the Michael Brown memorial when a vehicle pulled alongside them and an unknown suspect began firing shots from inside.

The 17-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder and the 19-year-old was shot once in the chest. Both victims were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Belmar waved off any notion that the people with the weapons were part of the protest.

"They were criminals. They weren't protesters," he said.

"There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that peace doesn't prevail," he said. "There are a lot of emotions. I get it. But we can't sustain this as we move forward."

The anniversary of the killing, which cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities, has sparked days of renewed protests, though until Sunday they had been peaceful and without any arrests.

Before the gunfire, protesters were blocking traffic and confronting police. One person threw a glass bottle at officers but missed. Three officers with the St. Louis County Police Department were injured during the night. Two of the officers were pepper sprayed by protesters and the third was cut in the face when a rock was thrown.

During the overnight unrest, two unmarked St. Louis County Police Department vehicles were struck by gunfire. Another unmarked police vehicle sustained damage from a minor vehicle accident, police said.

An unnamed member of the St. Louis media was assaulted and robbed while in a parking lot, according to the St. Louis County Police Department. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated after the incident. His condition is unknown.

Officers were seen standing outside a beauty supply store on West Florissant after a window was broken Sunday night. It is unknown if anything was taken from the store.

Alderman Antonio French tweeted that four people stole laptops and iPads from the #HealSTL office, located in the 9170 block of West Florissant, after he let them inside to escape the gunfire.

For the first time in three consecutive nights of protests, some officers were dressed in riot gear, including bullet-proof vests and helmets with shields.

Police arrested five people, including three teenagers, and at one point early Monday shot smoke to disperse the crowd that lingered on West Florissant, he said.

Monday morning, Attorney General Loretta Lynch took to Twitter regarding the events in Ferguson overnight.  Several other peaceful events earlier Sunday were held to mark the anniversary.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued the following statement regarding the Sunday night unrest in Ferguson:

“Last night, after a day of peaceful marches, prayers and healing, a number of violent incidents occurred: law enforcement officers were fired upon, businesses were burglarized, a reporter was attacked, a drive-by shooting took place, and the entire community was put at risk by heavy gunfire exchanged among groups of armed criminals. This is a sad turn of events, and I thank the brave and dedicated law enforcement officers who worked into the early morning hours to protect citizens, businesses as well as peaceful protesters and members of the media. Those who terrorize communities with gunfire and commit violence against police officers are criminals, and their reprehensible acts must not be allowed to silence the voices of peace and progress. Over the last year, people of good will across the community have worked tirelessly to bridge divisions, restore trust and build a brighter, safer, and more united future for the region.  For the sake of all, it is my hope and expectation that today’s events will be peaceful so that these efforts can continue to move the region in a positive direction.”

Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., led a march through town. It started at the site where Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November.

Later, a few hundred people turned out at Greater St. Mark Family Church for a service to remember Brown, with his father joining other relatives sitting behind the pulpit.

Organizers of some of the weekend activities pledged a day of civil disobedience on Monday, but have not offered specific details.

Associated Press reporter Jeff Roberson contributed to this report. 

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