IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Capt. Ron Johnson Slams Violence in Ferguson After Shrine Blaze

Protests turned violent hours after a shrine to Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot dead by police, burned down.
Get more newsLiveonNBC News Now

Shots were fired at police officers Tuesday night during a flare-up in Ferguson, Missouri, after a shrine to police-shooting victim Michael Brown burned down. "We saw the muzzle flash come from the weapon as we stood on the edge of the road. I was there. I took cover," Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said Wednesday as he warned that a replay of the previous night's violence would not be tolerated. "If that means that officers will respond in riot gear, they will," Johnson said. "We cannot have nights like last night."

Johnson — who became a symbol of calm after he was put in charge of the response to protests that sprang up after the Aug. 9 shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old — said the cause of the blaze that destroyed the shrine to Brown was still under investigation but he does not believe officers were involved. Hours after it happened, troublemakers tried to loot a beauty store and used gasoline to ignite a small fire at a restaurant, he said.

He said that shortly after midnight, some in a crowd of protesters began shining flashlights in the eyes of officers and "began to shout threatening remarks...about shooting police, burning down the town." After police ordered the crowd to disperse, bottles and rocks were thrown and two officers were injured, Johnson said. "This behavior will not be tolerated," he added.


— Tracy Connor