FERGUSON, Mo. — More than 400 people gathered Saturday for a protest at the spot where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer a week earlier.
Rev. Jesse Jackson addressed the crowd before they marched peacefully for blocks chanting: “Keep hope alive! Don't shoot! Hands up, don't shoot."
The ordered assembly was a stark contrast to the turmoil that enveloped Ferguson overnight.
Looting during the early hours of Saturday left many Ferguson businesses in shambles. Sam's Meat Market and More was looted for the second time in one week, but the store’s resilient owner said he's refusing to shutter the doors.
"I never give up," owner Mike Jacobs told NBC News on Saturday, even though he admitted the shop hadn’t recovered from the first wave of looting days earlier.
Several other Ferguson businesses were also ransacked Saturday, following Friday's orderly protests over the shooting death of Brown. But just as the peaceful atmosphere in Ferguson dissolved into chaos after nightfall, daybreak on Saturday brought calm and the community's support for businesses that were looted overnight.
Tanya Littleton, the manager of Feel Beauty Supply, looked at her battered store and wondered whether it would have to close for good after the nearly week long of unrest.
"It's not worth it," Littleton told NBC affiliate KSDK. "Right now our safety is more important than anything."
"We are really fearful for our lives," added Seretha Alford, an assistant manager at Feel Beauty.
Photo Gallery: Anger Reignited in Ferguson
While owners and managers were reeling from the destruction from protesters who were taking out their rage on businesses with no explanation, other community members said those who were acting out did not represent the character of the city of 21,000.
"This is not Ferguson. This is not St. Louis," resident Kerrie McKenna said outside of Sam's Meat Market and More.
"I came out to clean because we all need to band together," said another community member, Anitra Williams.
Residents also reached out to Ferguson Food Market and Liquor Store, which was looted after police released video of Brown allegedly stealing cigars from the convenience store. Those who showed up to pick up the pieces said they didn't understand the logic behind attacking the market.
"I think it's crazy," Regina Eason said amid the devastation and debris. "What does damaging a store going to do?"
Another supporter, Derrick Spencer, said the looting was "senseless." "It's not helping the situation," he said.
The violence had quelled Thursday after policing was transferred to state troopers from local police, but the decision by Ferguson police to release a video that allegedly showed Brown, 18, stealing seemed to spark the new wave of outrage.
Brown's family said the choice to release the video was "character assassination," and Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson later acknowledged that the officer who shot the teen didn't know he was a suspect in the robbery.
Saturday afternoon marked a week since Brown had been killed by the officer, who was identified as Darren Wilson, a four-year veteran of the force in Ferguson.
About forty people gathered in the rain at noon (1 p.m. ET) Saturday outside of the Ferguson Police Department to pay tribute to Brown with a moment of silence at the exact time he was killed a week earlier.
"It's a peaceful, silent protest to honor his death, pray silently for peace and stop the looting so no one gets injured on either side," said attendee Mandy Lanham.
"I hope we continue to unite as a community and embrace each other rather than fear each other," Lanham said. But only time would tell if the tranquility would last, or if the following hours would mimic the unrest of the night before.
Rick Brown reported from Ferguson, Missouri. Elisha Fieldstadt reported from New York.
First published August 16 2014, 10:42 AM