Nine days after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the Missouri National Guard to “help restore peace and order” in Ferguson, Missouri.
“I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community,” the governor said in a statement released early Monday morning.
Officers used tear gas to clear demonstrators off the streets late Sunday.
Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk. I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center. These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes. Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol is in command in Ferguson. He says authorities were responding to reports of gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails.
The latest confrontation came on the same day that Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on a black Missouri teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer. A preliminary private autopsy found that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
As night fell in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police pushed them back by repeatedly firing tear gas, and the streets were empty well before the curfew took effect at midnight.
Authorities said they were responding to reports of gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails.
“Based on the conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of response,” said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is command in Ferguson.
At least two people wounded in shootings, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.