Around four blocks from the city's police headquarters, two officers were shot in the leg, while one was shot in the arm and another was shot in the foot, according to St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden.
He said the officers had been standing off to the side of a police line and suddenly felt pain and realized they’d been shot.
Chief Hayden stated: “I believe some coward randomly shot at the police line. Thankfully, thank God they’re alive,” he said.
According to Hayden, there was a large peaceful protest downtown until around 8:00pm, when a smaller group of roughly 200 people started to hype up the crowds and change the mood. He said they looted the downtown area while flashing pistols.
Violent rioters threw bottles and rocks at police and threw gas on them. They also threw fireworks at officers, some of which exploded on them. They also burned a 7-Eleven store, with looters being seen running out of the store carrying stolen items. One rioter threw a firework into the building.
Hayden praised his officers for showing “extraordinary restraint” and said that they only took crowd control measures when things got violent. They warned the crowd they’d be throwing tear gas if they didn’t leave the area and followed through when the crowd refused to disperse, throwing tear gas and moving in lines to break up riots. Violent riots and gunfire persisted until well into the following morning.
All of the officers who were shot, who range in age from 28 to 52, are expected to survive.
Visibly shaken, Chief Hayden asked what this violence had to do with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “Mr. Floyd’s death is tragic. But can we make something out of these kids coming down here and just started like crazy, jumping up and down, high fiving each other, flourishing pistols. I don’t know what else to say. This is horrible.”
Senator Josh Hawley called the shootings “despicable” in a statement, offering prayers for the officers and thanking them for putting their lives on the line to protect our neighborhoods. He also called for those who attacked the officers to be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, the police chief of Moline Acres, Missouri, David Dorn, was found shot to death outside of a pawn shop that had been looted in violent protests. In Las Vegas, a police officer was shot while trying to disperse a crowd of protestors outside of a casino and is now on life support and in critical condition. In California, 53-year-old federal law enforcement officer Dave Patrick Underwood was shot and killed during a protest while providing security at the U.S. courthouse in Oakland.
In New York City, a police officer was stabbed in the neck in an unprovoked act in Brooklyn that left two other officers shot. Rioters also broke windows and looted luxury stores on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan prior to the city’s 11:00pm curfew, which Mayor Bill de Blasio then moved to 8:00 pm. In Buffalo, two officers were in stable condition after a vehicle barreled through a line of officers.
One of the great things about America is that people have the right to assemble and protest in a peaceful manner, but violently attacking the officers who are there to keep everyone safe – and had nothing to do with the incident that started all this – is not helping their cause.
Sources for this article include: