UPDATED with crowd down to about 20 by 6:30 a.m.
ST. LOUIS • Hundreds of protesters marched to the St. Louis University campus in the heart of the city early today and announced that they planned to stay.
The protest culminated at the private school's Midtown campus just west of Grand Boulevard shortly before 2 a.m. after a march that started near the site where a teenager was fatally shot five days earlier by a city police officer. Police say the teenager fired at the officer first.
Police and campus security officials monitored the march and the sit-in that followed but there were no reports of arrests or apparent attempts to halt the protest.
While there several hundred people in the group early on, by about 3 a.m. only about 50 remained. The number had dwindled to about 20 by 6:30 a.m.
The protest leaders announced the SLU sit-in at an impromptu rally that included relatives of VonDerrit Myers Jr., the teenager who was fatally shot Wednesday night. The relatives had joined the marchers a few hours earlier when they gathered near the Shaw Market, close to where Myers died.
The teenager's father, VonDerrit Myers Sr., was one of the speakers at the rally. He said he works at SLU.
"This lets me know my son was loved," he told the protesters. "I'd like to thank every one of you here. God bless you."
A protest organizer who spoke said: "We are here to destroy systematic racism and white supremacy."
He then announced: "This is a sit-in."
Most of the protesters gathered around the clock tower in the center of the SLU campus.
Organizers quickly took to social media sites such as Twitter to ask for blankets and other supplies for the protesters.
The march that led to the sit-in came at the end of the third day of events dubbed FergusonOctober that focused on "the epidemic of police violence." The events were organized in the wake of protests against the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in August by a Ferguson police officer.
The events were supposed to continue today with unspecified acts of civil disobedience.
Several people, including activist and academic Cornel West, joined the marchers at the SLU campus. West had been the headline speaker hours earlier at an interfaith gathering at SLU's Chaifetz Arena organized as part of FergusonOctober.
The crowd outside the Shaw Market had begun swelling shortly after 10:30 p.m. By 11 p.m., hundreds had gathered near the memorial for VonDerrit Myers Jr.
"I think it's needed," said Christie Huck, a Shaw resident who directs the nearby Montessori school. "We've got to change our police practices and all our systems that are failing our children."
Compared to the younger crowd that marched on a nearby QuikTrip store the prior night, the group Sunday night into Monday morning was a mix of ages and races.
Chrissy Kirchhoefer, who is white, traveled from Florissant to join the gathering. She was at Chaifetz Arena for the rally earlier.
"There was a pretty impassioned plea from the folks, and that was a real motivation," she said. "The least we can do is start showing up day after day after they've been in it 65 days."
At one point during the march, the group split. Some marchers went east and the other west on Shaw Boulevard.
The group of about 250 or so marching west headed toward The Grove entertainment district about a mile and a half away without incident.
There, the marchers went past astonished onlookers. Mike Rengel was catching a concert at the Ready Room when marchers went past.
"I knew there were protests going on in the area all weekend long," he said. "I'm heartened by the way police have respected their right to protest."
Police mostly kept their distance all evening. They blocked off streets some distance from protesters and let the march happen.
But before one of the groups reached SLU, the marchers were stopped on Grand near the campus by a line of police officers in riot gear. After a delay of several minutes, the officers stepped aside and let the chanting marchers pass.
"They're doing a pretty good job, I'll give them that," Derek Clark, who has marched with protesters in the area the last several days, said of the police.
Jordan Henry, 21, said he has been a target of police profiling. He was once arrested for running out of a 7-11, he said, and without demonstrations like this change would never happen.
"There's not much you can do if no one's listening," Henry said.
Later, as two protest groups met up and entered the SLU campus, several students among the marchers flashed their campus identification at security officials. Once the marchers were on SLU grounds, many students came outside their dormitories to watch.
"I was out on my balcony with my friend and saw police pull up and start barricading" Grand Boulevard, said sophomore Alek Knapowski.
He said school officials were trying to keep students from coming out to watch the march. He came out anyway.
"I feel like this is a very interesting period in our history," he said. "I'm really taken aback right now."
The march continued to the center of campus where organizers told the crowd the march was "symbolic of what we can do when we stick together."
"Get comfortable," the organizers added, because the sit-in would continue all night.
Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this article.