ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Businesses and neighborhoods across the area continue cleaning up after rioters ransacked them overnight and one of the hardest hit was a 7-Eleven in downtown St. Louis.
Police and protesters clashed in downtown St. Louis Monday night, throwing fireworks, breaking windows and doors, looting and, eventually, setting fire to the 7-Eleven near Union Station.
The fire has left employees out of a job and Sierra Shields and her co-workers wondering how they'll pay upcoming bills.
"Like my whole world just fell. That was all I had, my job," Shields said. It just felt like somebody was taking something from me and I couldn't do anything about it."
Shields left work at 7-Eleven around 8 Monday night, just before rioters took over.
"It just started to get crazy around here, gun shots, sirens, we heard yelling it sounded like explosions," Shields said.
Shields watched in shock as agitators fired shots into the store, even throwing sledgehammers and scooters to get in. She says looters grabbed anything they could before lighting the building on fire.
"You're hurting the minority. This is minority owned, minority mainly worked here so I don't see how this is spreading their message at all," Shields said.
Franchise owner Abe Eshein had no idea what was happening until his phone rang and he turned his TV on.
"I was sitting and one of my employees was by the store and called me and said that the store was being looted at the time," Eshein said. "I was just horrified to find the business I had for 30 years burn right in front of my eyes, it was very upsetting and emotional moment."
Shields says the store was a resource for everyone in the community, especially the elderly and homeless. As she looks for another job, she worries for them and for the future of her community saying, "I see the fall of St. Louis, that's what it looks like to me. Everything is just falling."