Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson told those gathered at a press conference early Tuesday morning that two men had been shot in Ferguson, but noted that the police were not involved in the shooting. He also stated that 31 people were arrested after another tense night between police and protesters that saw the streets of Ferguson filled with tear gas smoke.
Johnson, who has been placed in charge of security during the demonstrations by those who are upset about the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer, spoke with reporters around 3:30 a.m. EDT and noted that the shootings demonstrate “a dangerous dynamic in the night.” He also pointed out that the shootings are an indication that not everyone involved in the protests is on the righteous side of justice for Brown, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
According to the newspaper, there were several reports Tuesday morning of gunfire and bottles being thrown at police during a curfew-less night in which Johnson was allowing protesters to demonstrate.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery tweeted, “Air smells like gun powder, not like tear gas. Gun powder.”
“Our officers came under heavy fire,” said Johnson, the Post-Dispatch reports. Johnson emphasized that “not a single bullet was fired by officers.”
According to the Post-Dispatch, Johnson was beside a table on which two handguns and a Molotov cocktail that were taken from protesters by officers Monday were examples of what the police are up against.
Johnson told reporters that the weapons belonged to “violent agitators” who are blending in with peaceful demonstrators to cause chaos with police. “This nation is watching each and every one of us,” said Johnson, who, the newspaper notes, was “visibly angry and emotional during the news conference.”
“I am not going to let the criminals that have come here from across this country, or live in this neighborhood, define this community,” he added.
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.