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Video has emerged showing a car strike a person and subsequent gunfire during a protest to mark the two years since the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Police responded to the scene Tuesday night and were continuing to search for suspects linked to the gunfire, which did not hurt anyone but caused damage to the vehicle, Ferguson city spokesman Jeff Small said Wednesday morning.
More than 75 people were marching in downtown Ferguson from the site of Brown's shooting in 2014 and were told to clear the road. The man was still standing in the street when he was struck, Small said. Then, multiple bullets were fired at the car while witnesses rushed the victim from the scene.
He was taken from the location, Small added, which made it impossible for police to obtain information, including his identify or the extent of his injuries.
Police spoke with the driver, who was not injured, and she told authorities that she didn't see the pedestrian because it was nighttime.
Heather De Mian, who took the video of the gunfire, said the protests overnight were peaceful at first. Some demonstrators were blocking the street until police made them move, and most of them were on the sidewalk except for the one man.
A car "just came out of nowhere and the protester just flew in the air," De Mian told NBC News, "and I started screaming because I thought he was dead. I was terrified that he was dead that’s why I was screaming, and then 50 seconds later, two rounds of gunshots.”
De Mian believes there were at least 15 shots fired. She said it sounded more like automatic gunfire than a handgun going off.
After the shots rang out, most of the protesters left the area, she said, adding that she doesn't think the gunfire and the car accident were linked because of how much time went by between the two incidents.
Several journalists covering the march also echoed the accounts in social media posts Tuesday night from the scene.
Observances earlier in the day had been peaceful as prominent members of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Michael Brown Chosen for Change charitable foundation organized a vigil with music and poetry readings.
Brown was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer, leading to weeks of sometimes-violent protests. The officer, who resigned, was cleared by a state grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department.
The shooting did lead to a consent decree requiring more training for Ferguson police officers, policy changes to decrease the use of force and a more robust system for citizens to make complaints against officers.
Antonio French, a St. Louis city alderman who emerged as a prominent spokesman for peaceful protesters in Ferguson, said Brown's death had not yet brought sufficient reform to what he called an unequal criminal justice system.
He told NBC News that as long as police officers carried on being "unaccountable for their actions," deep mistrust would remain between police and their communities.
"There are Fergusons everywhere," French said. "There are many powder kegs all across America that could explode at any minute."