A grand jury chose Monday not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. Violence, looting, fires and gunshots erupted as anger broke out immediately.
At Ferguson police headquarters, protesters pelted officers with bottles, officers reported shots fired, and a team in riot gear ordered a crowd of several hundred people to disperse. Nearby, St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up unruly crowds.
A police car was set on fire, and an MSNBC reporter saw fire and looting in a cellphone store and a window that had been smashed at a McDonald’s. A pizzeria and a storage facility were engulfed in flames, and police and protesters stared each other down on an interstate.
Scattered volleys of what reporters described as gunfire could be heard more than two hours after the announcement.
The protests were so volatile that arriving airplanes were diverted from the airport in St. Louis, and the Federal Aviation Administration ordered planes away from the airspace over Ferguson.