At least 31 people were arrested during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Monday night into Tuesday morning, some having come from as far away as New York to California. Two people were also found shot on protest grounds, reportedly wounded by other protesters as police claim to have not fired any shots. Two buildings were set on fire. Officials now believe many of the violent nightly protesters are not local Ferguson residents.
According to CNN, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said, "I'm telling you, we're going to make this neighborhood whole. And I am not going to let criminals that have come out here from across this country or live in this community define this neighborhood and define what we're going to do to make it right."
Johnson has since asked "peaceful protesters" to rally during the day, so that the nighttime "criminals" can be separated from the group.
Like seemingly every other night for the past 10 days since the protests started over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer, the beginning of the night was reportedly peaceful. Police in riot gear formed a barricade and watched as protesters marched single file chanting for an estimated two hours.
"But the scene quickly deteriorated after a handful of protesters threw rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at police," reports CNN. "Officers responded by firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters."
"Johnson said a building and an unoccupied house were set on fire, and that his officers came under 'heavy gunfire,'" further reports CNN. However, none of the officers fired back. Armored vehicles were also used to patrol the scene.
Malik Shabazz, national president of Black Lawyers for Justice, said, "We are not going to let outside provocateurs to come here. We can't allow this movement to be destroyed," CNN reports.
According to CNN, "A grand jury could begin to hear testimony from witnesses and decide on whether to return an indictment [against the police officer who shot Brown] in the case as early as Wednesday."
The Ferguson-Florissant School District has canceled classes for the remainder of the week.