Several businesses were looted and cars vandalized last night following a candlelight vigil commemorating an 18-year-old unarmed black man fatally shot by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb.
The service was held Sunday evening in Ferguson, Mo. for Michael Brown, whom witnesses and authorities said was shot several times by an officer who had scuffled with the teen and another person.
Following the vigil, some people looted a convenience store, and other stores along a main road near the shooting scene were broken into and looted, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store.
Security videos show footage of people stealing bags of food and toilet paper from stores while dozens pour out of a liquor store carrying bottles of alcohol. In other areas, protestors stood atop police cars and berated police officers standing nearby.
According to several witnesses, other people vandalized police cars, kicking in windows and breaking mirrors.
"Right now, the small group of people are creating a huge mess," Ferguson's mayor, James Knowles, told the Associated Press.
"Contributing to the unrest that is going on is not going to help. ... We're only hurting ourselves, only hurting our community, hurting our neighbors. There's nothing productive from this."
As the investigation of Brown's death progresses, "we understand people want to vent their frustrations. We understand they want to speak out," Knowles added. "We're going to obviously try to urge calm."
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said there were no reports of injuries but confirmed widespread property damage. "Right now I'm just worried about people, not property," he said.
Before the riots, several hundred protesters had gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters, marching into an adjacent police building, some chanting "Don't shoot me" while holding their hands in the air. However, when officers refused to respond, many people left.
Lesley McSpadded, Brown's mother, says she is "furious" by the riots, calling them "disrespectful" to her son's memory.
A KTVI-TV news anchor reports having a personal conversation with McSpadden, in which she stated that the riots were "not doing any good at all for the cause to seek justice" for her son and peace for her family.
"I want all the looting to stop. I do not endorse any rallies. Anybody who is doing this kind of looting is not on my side. I am calling for people to stop-- this this is not helping me out one bit," she told the reporter.
According to County Police Chief Jon Belmar, the shooting of Michael Brown occurred after an officer came across Brown and another man near an apartment building in Ferguson.
Belmar reported that the struggle began after one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car. While it is unclear as to what occurred in the police car, at least one shot was fired from the officer's gun. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car.
Brown was shot multiple times as the scuffle moved outside the car and onto the street.. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn't known, but "it was more than just a couple" and all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer's gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.
McSpadden, said her son had just graduated from high school and was about to enter a local college. She said the shooting wasn't justified, as her son could have been subdued with a club or Taser, and she said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.
"I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty," she said.
According to Fox News, the St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation, and Dooley said he will request an FBI investigation. The U.S. Justice Department said Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed staff to monitor developments.