Authorities on Sunday imposed a midnight curfew for the second night a row in the tense St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot to
death last week by police.
They blocked off at least one street to vehicle traffic before the sun even set. The move came as scores of protesters had already begun gathering along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, the site of ongoing protests as well as violence and looting since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death on August 9.
Officials plan to decide on a day-by-day basis whether to extend the curfew, imposed Saturday night by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in an effort to quell protests and looting, Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Justin Wheetley said.
A preliminary private autopsy report found that Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a police officer in the suburban St. Louis city of Ferguson, was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported on Sunday night.
US Attorney General Eric Holder earlier on Sunday ordered a federal autopsy of Brown's body, seeking to assure the family and community there will be a thorough investigation into a death that has sparked days of racially charged protests.
Eighteen-year-old Brown, who was black, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. The police department in the St. Louis suburb has come under strong criticism for both the death of an unarmed man and its handling of the aftermath.
The Highway Patrol captain charged with restoring order told hundreds of people gathered at a local church for a rally on Sunday that he was committed to protecting their right to protest.
"I'm sorry," Captain Ron Johnson, who is black, told Brown'sfamily during remarks that prompted repeated standing ovations at the rally. "My heart is heavy."
Seven protesters were arrested early on Sunday after failing to disperse as the midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew went into effect. Police used canisters of smoke and later teargas to disperse the crowd, a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman said.
A person was shot and critically wounded during the night. The circumstances were not clear, and the shooter was still at large, police said. Johnson said police were unable to identify the victim, who he said was not shot by police. Johnson also said someone had shot at a passing police car and was not apprehended.
Police fired smoke canisters into a crowd of about 400 demonstrators, including families with children, in Ferguson, Missouri, Sunday night,
where they were protesting against the killing last week of an unarmed black teenager by police.
Police drove into the protest area in armored vehicles and shot smoke canisters at watching media representatives during a protest that had until then appeared to be peaceful.
However, the Missouri Highway Patrol said it was using the smoke canisters to disperse "aggressors" who were trying to infiltrate a law enforcement command post, and that the armored vehicles were deployed to ensure public safety.