Man Critically Wounded in Ferguson as Memorial Protest Turns Violent

Shots fired at protest marking anniversary of unarmed black teen Michael Brown; one in critical condition.

AP

The anniversary of 18-year-old Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri, began with a solemn march in his honor and ended with a rowdy protest that was interrupted by gunfire.

Shots rang out around 11:15 p.m. Sunday as several hundred people gathered on West Florissant Street.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said a man who opened fire on officers in Ferguson, Missouri, is in "critical, unstable" condition after being struck when the officers returned fire.

Belmar said at a news conference early Monday morning 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.

Belmar said the man approached the officers, who were in an unmarked police car and opened fire. The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle. They then pursued the man on foot.

The chief said the man again fired on the officers and all four fired back. The man, who wasn't immediately identified, was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in surgery.

Minutes after, an AP reporter saw a woman overcome with grief. Friends were consoling her. She screamed: "Why did they do it?" Another woman nearby fainted.

A man nearby said, "They killed my brother."

AP

The police department tweeted that at least two unmarked cars were hit by gunfire. A spokesman didn't immediately respond to questions about the shooting.

Several events earlier Sunday marked the anniversary of the killing that cast greater scrutiny on how police interact with black communities. Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., led a march through town after a crowd of hundreds observed 4½ minutes of silence.

The group began their silence at 12:02 p.m., the time Brown was killed, for a length of time that symbolized the 4½ hours that his body lay in the street after he was killed. Two doves were released at the end.

AP

The elder Brown then held hands with others to lead the march, which started at the site where his son, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014.

A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November, but the shooting touched off a national "Black Lives Matter" movement.

Pausing along the route at a permanent memorial for his son, Michael Brown Sr. said, "Miss you." He had thanked supporters before the march for not allowing what happened to his son to be "swept under the carpet."