More Mayhem In Ferguson: Tear Gas, Riot Gear, Gunshots
Updated 3:14 a.m ET.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is sending the National Guard to Ferguson to help restore order. He signed the executive order after another night of violence. In a statement, Nixon said the guard's help is needed to "restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson."
Because of safety issues related to the unrest, all schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District are closed Monday. A statement on the district's website reads, "We are planning to receive and support our students as soon as possible." The new school year was to begin last week but was postponed until Monday.
Violence flared several hours before a midnight curfew was set to begin in the St. Louis-area town of Ferguson on Sunday, with police using tear gas and smoke to disperse protesters, turning off street lights and reportedly threatening journalists with arrest if they didn't clear the roads.
Demonstrators began marching down West Florissant Avenue around 8:30 p.m. CT but came into contact with a police line, which seems to have kicked off the dramatic clashes that unfolded.
The fast-moving situation was intensified with fireworks that were confused as gunshots, and what some witnesses say was actual exchanges of gunshots. It's unclear who was doing the firing. A number of locals have told NPR that they're increasingly frustrated that Ferguson residents are being represented by small handfuls of looters and rioters, who they suspect are from out of town.
Three hours after the scuffles began, just before the midnight curfew imposed on Saturday by Gov. Jay Nixon, streets fell calmer, but the area remains on a hair trigger.
The chaos after dusk came after a unity rally that drew thousands of community members on Sunday afternoon. But as Ferguson community members returned home, Missouri highway patrolmen began barricading streets around what has become the central gathering place for nightly protests and daily marches — a burned-out Quiktrip station at the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive in Ferguson.
Just as crowds on Ferguson streets were breaking up, new information surfaced about the killing that sparked days of unrest. The New York Times posted results from a private autopsy of Michael Brown, showing he was shot six times, twice in the head.