Timeline of standoff between police and protesters in Ferguson
FERGUSON - A shooting and multiple arrests marked an overnight protest in Ferguson, as a state-issued curfew drew nearer close to the scene of the Michael Brown shooting.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was there urging protesters to return home peacefully before the curfew went into effect, but several hundred defiant protesters stayed out on a rainy night in the St. Louis suburb, vocal about justice in regard to the Aug. 9 shooting.
Earlier Saturday, Gov. Jay Nixon issued a curfew for Ferguson that would be in effect from midnight to 5 a.m. Johnson said the response from law enforcement Saturday night at the start of the curfew aimed to focus on communication, rather than force.
Below is a chronological recap of the events in Ferguson after midnight into early Sunday morning, augmented and visualized by first-hand accounts from across social media:
Protesters chanted peacefully in the hour just before midnight, "No justice, no curfew." However, several peacemakers pleaded with the crowd to head inside.
"NO JUSTICE, NO CURFEW."— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 17, 2014
Johnson talking to press in the 11th hour. Organized Peace Keepers are asking people to leave. MANY ARE! https://t.co/EC7mwSbwMI— Michael Butler (@MOMichaelButler) August 17, 2014
The Missouri State Highway Patrol set up and surrounded a small area for media to cover the events. Capt. Johnson was addressing protesters individually to head home and help the community have a safe night.
As rain began to fall, many protesters dispersed and a peaceful night seemed promising.
God's curfew has brought a midnight rainstorm to #Ferguson— Lynden Steele (@manofsteele) August 17, 2014
Despite the storm and a deluge of tweets calling for peace in Ferguson, around 45 minutes after the curfew took effect, reports indicated a mob was forming several hundred feet from the dubbed "media pen," chanting loudly and yelling verbal insults at police. Within minutes, there were reports of armed protesters.
this is not good. there are guys armed & they are gathering at top of the road. "we're making history tonight"— Amy K. Nelson (@AmyKNelson) August 17, 2014
I can hear protestors chanting, "We ready. We ready. We ready for y'all." Curfew broken #Ferguson— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 17, 2014
Some demonstrators parked their cars on the road between protesters and police, blocking a direct path.
Demonstrators have made a barricade of cars across West Florissant. pic.twitter.com/6YQa11adtW— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
#Ferguson crowd in front if QuikTrip chanting "we ready, we ready" 200 people is my estimate three cars have been parked across road— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 17, 2014
Police began donning riot gear, shields, and preparing their weapons. They began announcing over a loudspeaker for the crowd to disperse.
Protesters had their own megaphones and responded to police, chanting for justice.
Many reported the Ferguson police officers joining state troopers and forming ranks to organize a move in response to the advancing group of protesters still several hundred feet away.
#Ferguson police lining up, protesters have moved part of the way up street yelling is louder— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 17, 2014
The heavy armor just came out -- looks like five armored vans and trucks, filled with guys. http://t.co/5jP8rT9HSo— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 17, 2014
Police just asked all "mobile units" to come to Ferguson Ave and West Florissant Ave. Several officers then started walking to intersection— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 17, 2014
Then, police fired smoke shells into the crowd. At a later news conference, Johnson confirmed there had been an armed suspect in the street.
Preliminary reports indicated smoke, but there was some confusion when reporters and protesters began reporting burning in their eyes and nausea.
#Ferguson police in media pen say no tear gas was fired only smoke— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 17, 2014
I have been teargassed many times, the police definitely used it today in #Ferguson— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 17, 2014
@AntonioFrench says he can't say whether gas fired was tear gas or smoke. But "it burned," he says— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 17, 2014
Police later confirmed the use of tear gas. Several pictures of the canisters surfaced.
State police were emphatic that they didn't use tear gas but now say they did. pic.twitter.com/F11p8RjR6z— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) August 17, 2014
Public relations officer confirms to me that was tear gas, not smoke bombs as some had suggested #Ferguson— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 17, 2014
There were several reports of a small fire, some indicating a protester may have thrown a Molotov cocktail at a nearby business.
Shortly after, the tension between police and protesters peaked. Reports of gunfire flooded social media.
Hearing several pops and thuds in the distance, can't tell what the munitions or devices are.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 17, 2014
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 17, 2014
"I just a heard a bullet, something ricochet off the ground in front of me. A whiz go straight past me." @Timcast— Noah McCormack (@noahmccormack) August 17, 2014
Police moved in and fired more tear gas to disperse the crowd. Johnson later confirmed police were moving in response to a report of a shooting victim.
A protestor was shot in the neck and is lying on the ground, said Anthony Ellis, a peacekeeper who was working to keep scene calm— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 17, 2014
Police radio says there are reports of a person shot. Not clear if with rubber bullets. #Fergurson— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 17, 2014
Johnson confirmed the shooting was between two civilians, and that the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He also said shots were fired at a police vehicle.
After police attempted to secure the area, reports of arrests and apparent gunfire came with a sharp decline in protester presence.
Most remaining protesters scattered after shooting. Few stragglers staying put outside BBQ restaurant— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 17, 2014
Officials announced the news conference after police were able to achieve a relative calm.
Johnson said police made seven arrests and the one gunshot victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition and "may lose his life."
The news conference wrapped up with Johnson concluding, "Officers will patrol the area all night ... to keep citizens and businesses safe and healthy."