Anger spilled over into violence Monday night after it was announced that Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of Michael Brown.
At least two St. Louis County police cars were set on fire, and at least 25 businesses were damaged or destroyed in Ferguson, Dellwood and the city of St. Louis. An elderly man was run over when he was carjacked outside a Ferguson pizzeria.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III called on Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard and complained that his request had gone unanswered. About 1 a.m. Tuesday, Nixon ordered additional Guardsmen to Ferguson to provide security at the police department.
The Federal Aviation Administration diverted 10 flights coming into Lambert-St. Louis International Airport because of gunfire in the Ferguson area. The FAA said flights would continue to be diverted until gunfire stops or the wind changes direction, allowing the planes to land on a different runway.
Airplanes were still departing from Lambert because they were taking off in a different direction.
In south St. Louis, protesters shut down Interstate 44 at South Grand Boulevard for a short time, but the highway was reopened about 10:45 p.m.
Police, dressed in riot gear, used tear gas to clear the crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department, at 222 South Florissant Road, and several hundred people began fleeing the area as gunshots were heard in the distance.
As the night went on, more reports of fires, vandalism and looting were reported both in Ferguson and along South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis.
There was a general sense of lawlessness on South Florissant Road north of the police department, in a business area of Ferguson that had not seen any rioting or looting in August.
A reporter witnessed one man pull out a small pistol and fire three or four shots into the air near the police station when police ordered the crowd to disperse and began shooting off flash-bang grenades.
The majority of the stores starting at Beauty World and heading north about two blocks to the Whistle Stop Cafe had been looted, with people casually going into the stores to find more things to take. Some of them were getting hurt as they entered and exited the stores through broken windows and doors.
For about half an hour there was no police or fire response to the looting, despite a small fire inside Beauty World. The looting took place less than a half-mile from the police department, where about 40 officers were stationed in front in riot gear. Natalie’s Cakes and More was among the stores damaged.
Owner Natalie DuBose stood outside her store just before midnight in tears. Vandals had smashed out her store’s windows but had not looted it. Relatives were helping her clean up. She had opened her store this past summer, and business had suffered since August.
“This is really a shame, because I support justice and equality,” she said. “But I’m also in support of me being in business, and this is going to deter people from coming into this area. This is totally unnecessary.”
DuBose was unsure whether she could complete all of her Thanksgiving orders, but was going to try. There were glass shards in her cake boxes, which would have to be thrown out.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m., a young man drove up to the police line in a parking lot on West Florissant Avenue and said he had been shot in the leg. He climbed out of his car, dazed and limping, and appeared to have a wound near one ankle. He at first refused medical treatment, saying he didn’t want to leave his gray Ford Mustang. “It’s all I have,” he said.
‘THIS JUST HURTS’
Delores Blue, 40, of Florissant, came to listen to the announcement and be part of the crowd outside the Ferguson Police Department. She did not seem hopeful. When word came that Wilson would not be indicted, Blue gasped, then walked away.
“This just hurts,” she said.
Marsha McGee, of Florissant, a frequent protester since shortly after Brown’s shooting, said justice was not served.
“I am mad as hell. I feel like he should have went to jail because he killed that young man,” McGee said of Wilson.
Tracy Sheffield of Kansas City said he wanted to be in Ferguson when the announcement was made. “This is heartbreaking. It just shows that in the 21st century, you can get away with murder if you are wearing a badge and a blue uniform.”
In Clayton, the racially mixed crowd outside the Buzz Westfall Justice Center numbered about 100 at its peak. Inside is where St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Wilson would not be indicted.
At times, some chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” but generally the gathering was peaceful. The news of Wilson’s fate quietly worked its way through the crowd.
“I’m surprised,” Darryl Booker said. “Only because Michael Brown did not have a weapon. I don’t see how it was equal.”
In the Shaw neighborhood, site of the shooting death last month of VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, by an off-duty police officer, the crowd grew to about 300, and marched down South Grand Boulevard, shutting down I-44. At the time of the announcement less than 20 people were listening to the announcement on a car radio parked in front of a memorial to Myers on Shaw Boulevard.
Two members in the crowd were sisters, Natalie and Cynthia Hill, who live in the neighborhood.
“You’d rather go to war than hold one cop accountable,” said Natalie Hill loudly after the no indictment announcement was made.
The Hills and others in the small crowd shook their heads throughout the announcement, but remained silent.
Later, Natalie Hill added: “I’m 64 years old, and I was in the streets (in the 1960s). I feel everything I fought for has been taken away. Our young people are still being killed in the street.”
When asked if she had expected such a verdict, Hill said, “I’m not surprised. And this isn’t over.”
About 50 people gathered around car radios in the Canfield Green apartment complex in Ferguson, near where Brown was shot. After McCulloch’s announcement, some chanted: “No justice, no peace.” Several young people jumped into cars and sped off, apparently toward the larger gathering near the Ferguson Police Department.
An angry crowd went nose-to-nose with a police line across South Florissant Road, cursing and taunting the officers. Some protesters broke away and surrounded a police car, which they began rocking and smashing with rocks. Some officers moved toward them with shotguns marked “non-lethal,” but they had to retreat as a larger crowd almost surrounded them.
Rioters, mainly young men, smashed the front window of the Ferguson Fire Station and windows of several nearby businesses.
Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was standing on the hood of a car a few blocks from the Ferguson Police Station when the announcement was made. She began weeping and two people held her up and walked away from the crowd. She was surrounded by 15 to 20 people.
The damage toll Monday night included:
• The Walgreens at North Florissant and Hereford Avenue was looted and burned.
• Little Caesars pizza at North Florissant was burned.
• An antiques and collectibles store, Hidden Treasures, attached to Little Caesars was also destroyed by fire.
• On South Florissant, El Palenque Mexican restaurant, Boost Mobile and Ferguson Optical Inc. all reported windows broken, and Beauty World was looted.
• Sam’s Meat Market and Beauty Town on West Florissant were reported burned.
• Ferguson Market and O’Reilly Auto Parts on West Florissant were looted.
• Toys R Us north of Ferguson near Interstate 270 was looted.
• A St. Louis County Police car was set on fire in the 400 block of South Florissant, a few blocks south of the police station.
• Around 10 p.m., police reported a second police car on fire on the same block. Several fires were set in trash cans up and down the street.
• Shortly before 10:30 p.m., a fire broke out in a business building just south of the McDonald’s on West Florissant Avenue.
• Windows were smashed at the McDonald’s and other businesses nearby.
• St. Louis Fish Chicken and Grill was burned.
• People broke into Public Storage on West Florissant. Fire gutted the office building attached to the storage facility. Fashions R Boutique, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone and TitleMax also were burned.
• Several businesses north of the Ferguson police station had front windows broken out.
• Cathy’s Kitchen had a window smashed.
• Red’s Barbecue, at the entrance to Canfield, was damaged by fire.
• In the Shaw Neighborhood, protesters broke out windows at several businesses around South Grand Boulevard and Arsenal, including a FedEx and a St. Louis Bread Co.
• Also in the Shaw Neighborhood, A.J. & Ronald Pawn Shop at Grand and Hartford had windows broken out.
Jesse Bogan, Koran Addo, Elisa Crouch, Nancy Cambria, Samantha Liss, Ken Leiser, Kevin McDermott, Joe Holleman, Steve Giegerich, Lilly Fowler, Paul Hampel, Jennifer Mann, Tim O’Neil, Doug Moore and Nicholas C.J. Pistor, all of the Post-Dispatch, contributed to this report.