ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Restoration efforts are underway following a night of violence and vandalism in St. Louis.
Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed organized a cleanup effort for Tuesday morning. Starting at 9 a.m., he invited members of the community to meet at the shopping center at Grand and Cass, which was targeted by looters overnight. The group then moved to various areas that were damaged throughout the city.
Volunteer James Beard brought along his 11-year-old son to help.
"I brought him down this morning because I want to engage him in a conversation about race and equity, and what it really means to be part of one community," he said.
Reed also created a GoFundMe to restore the city with a goal to raise $50,000. The money will be used to help businesses get back on their feet.
“Nearly every area of our city was in the pathway of last night’s destruction. The people who caused this widespread damage were after anarchy and not justice. They were out there for themselves, hellbent on causing damage and destruction. We need to come together and show that we are one St. Louis,” said Reed.
As the protests turned violent, downtown businesses were looted and a 7-Eleven Store and Family Dollar were set on fire. During the evening, four St. Louis City police officers were shot near their headquarters.
News 4's Justin Andrews saw individuals cleaning up damage after looters ransacked a shopping plaza in north St. Louis during the early morning hours Tuesday.
The owner of Bella's Frozen Yogurt on Washington Avenue is one of several area businesses forced to close because of damage.
"We just painted the windows last week all rainbows for pride, he and I both did that ourselves and we're just really proud of our work and to see it smashed up was just terrible," said owner Cory James.
James told News 4 he supports the peaceful protesting, but doesn't understand why agitators and rioters are attacking innocent businesses.
"We want to support everyone in the community no matter what, it's what we do here at Bella's and I think that actions like this dilute the message and make it terrible so no one wins in this," James said.
The owners started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to fix the thousands of money worth of damages.
Any business or residence that was damaged during the violent night should contact Reed’s office at 314-622-4114 for assistance.
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