Not a second after interim Ferguson police chief Andre Anderson told TV reporters, "We just want to be as patient as possible," the bullets started flying on W. Florissant Avenue.
Gunfire erupted last night at about 11:15 in Ferguson, where people had gathered on the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown Jr. That gunfire led to a man being shot by police and kicked off a series of other crimes that included damage to at least one business, the mugging of St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel, and a second shooting on Canfield Drive.
The chaos started at about 11:15 on W. Florissant. In a video posted to YouTube by RT, you can see people ducking for cover and what appears to be a person in the right of the frame firing a gun.
According to the Washington Post, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that a man who was approximately 20 years old first exchanged fire with another party before firing on four officers in an unmarked vehicle. Police chased him down and shot him. He's out of surgery, according to the Post-Dispatch, and in critical condition.
Belmar was quick to dissociate this behavior from legitimate protest:
Belmar also stressed that the man who opened fire was not a protester, and tried to differentiate between those exercising their First Amendment rights at Ferguson protests and those involved in criminal activity. "There is a small group of people out there who are intent on making sure we don't have peace that prevails," Belmar said. "That's unfortunate. Because even with the folks who were in the street last night, there were a lot of emotions, I get it. But this is something different."
Shortly thereafter, 22nd Ward Alderman Antonio French, who has an outreach office on W. Florissant called "Heal STL," tweeted the following:
Tonight I let 4 guys run into the #HealSTL office to get away from the gunfire. While I was in the front, they stole laptops and iPads. SMH.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 10, 2015
The PD's Paul Hampel tweeted a pic of some damage on W. Florissant, then went radio silent:
Turns out Hampel himself became a victim:
Then, around 2:15 a.m., two young black males, ages 17 and 19, were walking on Canfield Drive near the Mike Brown memorial when "an unknown black male wearing a red hooded sweatshirt started shooting at them," according to a county police media advisory. Both were shot in the chest and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
All of this mayhem caused the Post-Dispatch to change its front page overnight: