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Four St. Louis police officers were shot by an unknown assailant as protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent Monday night, with the city police chief telling reporters early Tuesday morning that gunfire was occurring “as we speak.”
St. Louis P.D. chief John Hayden said that all four officers had been hospitalized but had sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Two officers were shot in the leg, one in the foot, and the other in the arm while they were standing on the side of a police line, after “some coward randomly shot” at them, according to Hayden.
“As we speak we’re trying to get control out of this city, still hearing gunfire and everything. I don’t know what else to say. This is horrible,” he said. “Thank God, they’re alive.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “heavy gunfire” could be heard “coming from several directions downtown” at approximately 12:25 a.m. local time. Apparent video of the situation shows dozens of shots being exchanged.
Hayden said that peaceful protests during the day gave way to unruly rioting at night, when a group of approximately 200 tried to incite the crowd by throwing rocks and fireworks at officers.
“They were throwing fireworks on officers, fireworks were exploding on officers, they had officers that had gas poured on them,” Hayden said. “Mr. Floyd was killed somewhere else and they’re tearing up cities all across the country . . . I don’t understand why this mayhem is going on.”