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Man accused of driving into St. Louis protest charged

ST. LOUIS -- A man was charged Thursday after authorities said he pulled his car into a group of demonstrators protesting a police shooting in St. Louis, injuring three people. 

Mark Colao, 59, faces a felony count of resisting arrest by fleeing and misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an accident and operating a vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner. It's not clear if he has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.

Police said the three people suffered minor injuries Wednesday night during a candlelight vigil and protest in honor of Kenny "Kiwi" Herring, who was fatally shot by officers Tuesday after allegedly stabbing one of them. Relatives and friends have said Herring was a transgender woman.

Vigil for trans woman shot by St. Louis police

Police and witnesses offered differing accounts of what happened. 

The vigil began at a community garden that honors transgender people. Activist Heather De Mian said Thursday that after the vigil, 40 to 50 people marched to an intersection and blocked it to protest Herring's death. 

Police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said in a news release Thursday that a car pulled up, stopped, honked and attempted to drive around the protesters before some of them surrounded the car and began hitting it with their hands and a flag pole.

The injured protesters - two women and a man - had jumped onto the car and fell off when the driver pulled away, Jackson said. None of the injured requested treatment, Jackson said.

De Mian, who uses a wheelchair, was shooting video of the protest. She gave a different account.

"I looked up and saw the car pushing through protesters," De Mian said. "I could see this car was being aggressive so other protesters were running up to try to stop it."

The car drove away but was stopped by police about a block from where the protesters were struck. 

Witness Keith Rose told CBS affiliate KMOV the driver had his middle fingers raised before accelerating through the group.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tweeted Thursday that people should pick a different route if they encounter protesters and not continue driving. 

Police were initially called to Herring's apartment building because a stabbing was reported. In a probable cause statement, Detective Jamie Simpher said a fire broke out around 2 a.m. Tuesday on the balcony above Herring's apartment. He said Herring and her partner, Kristy Lynn Thompson, went upstairs and accused the man living there of starting the fire.

Simpher said that as the argument turned physical, Thompson handed Herring a butcher knife and Herring stabbed the neighbor, who finally managed to push the two out the door and lock it.

The neighbor was hospitalized with a collapsed lung and cuts to his face, hand and body, Simpher wrote.

Thompson was charged with assault and armed criminal action.

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