Night of violence prompts state of emergency in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. -- A state of emergency has been put in effect in Ferguson, Missouri. The St. Louis County Police have been put in charge of emergency management.

The effect has been put in place in response to a night of violence on the anniversary of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. Even though the officer Darren Wilson was cleared by a grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice, the name "Ferguson" remains a rallying cry.

Protestors were back out again on Monday this time in downtown St. Louis. When they refused to disperse, police started making arrests. With tensions rising again after chaos Sunday night, county executive Steve Stenger issued a new emergency order.

"We are trying to do everything we can to protect life and property," he said. "Fifty shots rang out last night. Our community has come too far and worked too hard to be set back again."

Sunday night's protests started peacefully, but then grew tense. Suddenly, dozens of gunshots. Even police chief Andre Anderson looked startled when he was interrupted mid-interview by gunshots.

Police say two groups of gunmen fired at each other. Undercover police followed one of them. They say he turned and shot at them hitting their unmarked SUV. They fired back critically wounding 18-year-old Tyrone Harris.

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"They were criminals, they weren't protestors," said St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar. "Protestors are people that are out there that are talking about a way to effect change."

Pastor Robert White has tried to defuse tension in Ferguson since protests began a year ago.

"I walked in here and there was just chaos," said White.

Minutes after police shot Harris, there is video of White calming down another protestor who was threatening police.

"I kept saying the word tomorrow," he said. "If we can make it to tomorrow, there's another chance for you and me."

Police said they are criminals.

"They are hurt souls that a system has failed," White said. "We have got to have patience. This didn't happen overnight. It's not going to change overnight."

Since Michael Brown's death a year ago, Ferguson has a new black police chief, a new black city manager and two new black city council people. And an investment of almost a half-billion has helped create 1,000 new jobs.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.