4 Mo. police officers shot during night of rioting, violence

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said rioters also blocked fire trucks trying to respond to a fire

Rachel Rice
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Four police officers were shot in downtown St. Louis early Tuesday morning, as a day of peaceful protests turned into a violent and destructive night in the city.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people gathered across the St. Louis region again Monday to protest the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But tensions rose once the sun fell in downtown St. Louis.

Just after midnight, four officers, all men, were shot in the near 16th and Olive streets. All four are conscious, and their injuries are considered non-life-threatening.

"I believe some coward randomly shot at the police line," said St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden.

Hayden held a news conference at about 1:45 a.m., where he said two officers were shot in the leg, one was shot in the foot, and one more was shot in the arm.

An exasperated Hayden said he was trying to make sense of the night's "mayhem."

"I don't know what else to say," Hayden said. "This is horrible."

Several other businesses were damaged, including the 7-Eleven at 201 N. 17th St. that was looted and set afire at about 9:30 p.m.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said firefighters were slowed by protesters in responding to the fire at 7-Eleven.

“We had people lying down in the street,” Jenkerson said, adding that trash cans were rolled into the street that became obstacles for fire trucks to maneuver around.

By 10:30 p.m., there were reports of several stores burglarized and vandalized on both Tucker Boulevard and Washington Avenue, including Fresh Image, a frozen yogurt store and Sprint and Boost stores.

"We tried to be peaceful already, and that didn't work," said Dustin Johnson, a 20-year-old downtown resident who remained downtown close to midnight.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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