FERGUSON, Missouri — Two people were shot and police launched several rounds of tear gas late Monday night to clear the streets of Ferguson amid a tense confrontation between police and protesters, authorities said Tuesday.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, told CNN that two people in the crowd were hit by gunshots. He said the shots weren't fired by police.
The renewed police activity started about a half-hour after community leaders appeared to have defused a showdown between several hundred protesters and a wall of law enforcement officers 60 wide and five deep.
The protesters, some of them throwing bottles, surged forward and back as the officers held their ground. An armored vehicle began moving toward the crowd, and as clergymen and other community leaders locked arms to hold the protesters back, the crowd appeared to retreat about 10 p.m. (11 p.m. ET).
As authorities ordered media crews to retreat — saying they were provoking the crowd — police with shields and weapons drawn briefly began advancing while retreating protesters shouted at them. All through the showdown, clergymen and other community leaders waved their arms and screamed for the crowd to stand down.
A lone protester who continued struggling was grabbed by officers, briefly setting off another round of object-throwing and shouts of "Mike Brown can't relax! Mike Brown can't move back!"
Johnson said the law enforcement response was necessary to protect officers' lives.
"We had some people that were hiding behind bushes," he told CNN. "Officers can't walk towards that."
— Rick Brown, M. Alex Johnson, Bill Angelucci and Mary Murray
First published August 18 2014, 8:03 PM