In a new wave of violence after weeks of calm, police arrested at least three people early Wednesday morning after protesters took to the streets of Ferguson following the destruction of a makeshift memorial for the late Michael Brown.
Some looting resumed and business windows were busted, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Local news affiliate KSDK reported that there was a break-in Tuesday at Beauty Town, a West Florissant cosmetics supply store. There were also reports of gun shots fired near the apartment complex where Brown lived and allegedly outside of Beauty Town. Roughly 200 protesters eventually converged on the scene, according to KDSK.
Early on Tuesday, a memorial for Brown near the scene of his death caught on fire and burned to the ground.
The Ferguson Fire Department received a call around 6:45 a.m. about a fire on Canfield Drive. When firefighters arrived, they found the memorial residents had erected in Brown’s honor in flames, which they extinguished. For more than a month people had lit candles, laid cards and tied balloons to the memorial.
An unidentified person outside of Beauty Town told KDSK reporter Casey Nolan that the burning of the Brown memorial was the catalyst for this new outburst of tension in Ferguson. Nolan was told that people in the community believe the memorial was intentionally destroyed and that it would be “naive” to think otherwise.
According to NBC News, some of the spectators shouted pro-Brown slogans at police who arrived at the scene of the alleged burglary.
Capt. Ron Johnson, who has had a mixed record of keeping the peace in Ferguson, was on the scene along with local authorities. There have been reports that Ferguson police were wearing body cameras when they responded to the disturbance. KDSK reports that no police wore riot gear or any other kind of tactical equipment.
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French tweeted from the scene and claimed that young people breaking into Beauty Town were heard chanting, “Burn it down!”
The owner of Beauty Town told a reporter for CBS affiliate KMOV ”this is the third time we’ve been hit.”
According to KDSK, the Ferguson Market and Convenience Store, which is located next to Beauty Town began boarding up its windows following the incident as a precautionary measure.
The memorial was one of two at the scene of Brown’s Aug. 9 shooting, this one erected around a telephone pole, the other in the center of Canfield Drive where the unarmed teen fell after being shot about a half-dozen times by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson after an alleged struggle between the two. Police say Wilson shot Brown after the teen reached for the officer’s gun. Witnesses say Wilson shot at Brown as he tried to run away and fired the fatal gunshots as Brown turned with his hands up in surrender.
Fire officials told NBC News on Tuesday that they were not sure what caused the fire. According to KDSK the memorial was rebuilt “bigger than it was before.”