Police say four officers were hit by gunfire after protests in St. Louis that started peacefully Monday became violent overnight, with demonstrators smashing windows and stealing items from businesses and fires burning in the downtown area.
The police department tweeted early Tuesday that the officers were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. It was unclear who had fired the shots.
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The chaos in St. Louis followed continued protests Monday in Missouri over the death of George Floyd and police treatment of African Americans, with gatherings also held in Kansas City and Jefferson City.
On Monday afternoon, several hundred people rallied peacefully outside the justice center in downtown St. Louis, including Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards. Protestors later walked to the Gateway Arch National Park and then onto nearby Interstate 64.
National Guard forces activated in 23 states and Washington DC as riots continue to spiral out of control with a rising death toll.
At least 11 people are dead and thousands more injured as riots continued for the seventh straight day across the US, following the death of a Minneapolis man as he was being detained by local police.
Protests were organized in more than 200 cities across the US following the death last Monday of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But the protests, many of which were initially peaceful, quickly degenerated into riots, looting, arson, and in some cases shooting attacks.
Rioting spread to at least 140 cities across the US, leading 40 cities to impose curfews. New York City, too, announced an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew Monday evening, as riots and looting spread to Lower Manhattan.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have activated National Guard forces to help restore order, as the death toll continued to climb Monday.
As of Monday night, eleven deaths have been linked to the riots, which in some cases have included shooting attacks.
In Oakland, California, for instance, two Federal Protective Service officers were shot last Friday night as they stood guard near a riot outside of a federal courthouse. One of the officers, Patrick Underwood, was killed in the drive-by shooting, while a second officer was wounded.
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the drive-by shooting was linked to the rioting, and called the attack “an outright assault on our law enforcement community.”
During a riot late Sunday night and early Monday morning in Davenport, Iowa, more than 20 shots were fired during a riot near the NorthPark Mall, Police Chief Paul Sikorski told reporters.