Two shot in Ferguson amid standoff with police

Shot rang out around on Sunday night as several hundred people gathered on West Florissant Street

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Two people were struck by gunfire during a standoff between riot police and protesters on Sunday night in Ferguson, Missouri, after a day of otherwise peaceful rallies commemorating the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer one year ago.

Several volleys of gunshots rang out as police tried to disperse demonstrators blocking traffic and smashing storefront windows along a street that was a flashpoint of last year's unrest in the St. Louis suburb following the slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The origin of the gunfire and condition of the two people shot was not immediately known, police said. One of the victims, a black male who looked to be a teenager or young adult, appeared in a Reuters photo to have been badly wounded.

Standoff

Anniversary commemorations for Brown had begun hours earlier with a peaceful march through the St. Louis suburb after a moment of silence for the teenager, whose death on Aug. 9, 2014, ignited months of demonstrations and a national debate on race and justice.

The scene changed dramatically after dark with dozens of protesters blocking traffic and smashing store windows along West Florissant Avenue, which bore the brunt of last summer's rioting, chanting "Shut it down" in the midst of a severe thunderstorm.

A phalanx of helmeted police wearing body armor and carrying shields moved in. Protesters briefly fell away before regrouping to confront the line of officers, who ordered them to disperse.

The face-off was shattered by bursts of gunfire, sending police crouching behind their patrol cars and demonstrators scurrying for cover. Helicopters whirred overhead as additional police armed with assault rifles swarmed the area, some roaring down the street in armored vehicles in the direction of the gunfire.

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