FERGUSON, Mo., April 29 (UPI) -- A couple of people were shot and a convenience store was looted overnight Tuesday when violence erupted during demonstrations in support of the Baltimore protests.
One day after demonstrators in Baltimore set buildings ablaze and looted stores in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray, hundreds of protesters in Ferguson clashed with police, setting trash cans on fire and throwing rocks at patrol vehicles, police said.
More than 150 police officers were sent in to disperse the crowds. Several news outlets were reporting two people were shot, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported three. Acting Ferguson Police Chief Al Eickhoff told the newspaper two of the victims were shot in the neck and one in the leg. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
At least five people were arrested late Tuesday and early Wednesday during the Ferguson protests, most for charges stemming from the looting of a gas station.
"We've got a certain amount of a criminal element that do not want to see the community move forward," Eickhoff said. "We've got a completely new face on the city council and we're changing things. I'm not sure if they're just resisting it or what. The three shooting victims we had were rioters, and while we're trying to take care of the victims, they're intent on damaging the policemen who are trying to help the rioters that have been shot."
The demonstrations were near the site where Michael Brown was fatally shot in August by former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson. Brown's death sparked weeks of unrest in Ferguson and throughout the nation. The latest Ferguson protest touched off after the funeral for Gray, who died of a broken spine while in Baltimore police custody.
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French was in Ferguson when the violence erupted and caught some of the violence on video, including sounds of gunshots. He posted it on Twitter, later saying, "There were two distinct groups out there last night. One to protest. One to do damage and loot."
More gunshots. pic.twitter.com/qpqmVatFM5— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) April 29, 2015