BERKELEY, MO.– After the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old, Antonio Martin Wednesday, the scene has escalated from calm protesting to riotous acts that have landed two police officers in the hospital.
Among the crowd of 300-400 people, some arrived on the scene with explosives and other items with the intent to harm police officers.
Two cops were sent to emergency rooms: one for lower leg injuries from one of the blasts, another for facial abrasions from a brick, according to police.
Arsonists set fire to a QuikTrip convenience store across the street, but the fire was extinguished, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.
More than 50 officers responded to the scene, only some wearing riot gear.
“To come there armed with explosive devices is certainly something that is not safe for our community, not safe for our businesses, certainly not safe for our police officers,” Belmar said at a press conference.
Belmar said he spoke to several young people at the scene who questioned why the officer did not use a Taser or Mace pepper spray to incapacitate the suspect, rather than a firearm.
“Frankly, that’s unreasonable,” he said. “When we have someone that’s pointing a gun at a police officer, there’s not a lot of time. I would imagine that most of us would feel like we were in imminent danger of losing our lives at that point.”