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Capt. Johnson: ‘Peace and Justice Took a Very Different Turn After Dark’

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Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson briefs the media around 1:00 a.m. on August 18. Photo: KMOX/Michael Calhoun

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson briefs the media around 1:00 a.m. on August 18. Photo: KMOX/Michael Calhoun

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) - Early this morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Col. Ron Johnson met with the media to describe what happened on the streets of Ferguson at night fall and contributed to the Governor’s decision to bring in the Guard.

“Peace and justice took a very different turn after dark,” Johnson said. “Molotov cocktails were thrown, there were shootings, looting, vandalism and other acts of violence that clearly appear not to have been spontaneous, but premeditated criminal acts.”

Johnson said this had nothing to do with civil disobedience, but was designed to damage property, hurt people and get police to respond.

“The situation first started to deteriorate with the shooting of a civilian on W. Florissant and Ferguson Avenues at approximately 8:25 p.m.,” he said.

TIMELINE: The Death of Michael Brown and Unrest in Ferguson

Police responded to West Florissant and Ferguson and got the shooting victim to safety, but then the violence ramped up and police became the target.

“That was followed by shots being fired on officers, a number of Molotov cocktails being thrown, and then the looting,” Johnson said.

Four businesses, including Dominos and Family Dollar, were ransacked and looted, followed by a number of shootings. There was a report of at least one more person down that was followed by rioters moving on the location of the police command center. Johnson said at that point, the crowd started throwing Molotov cocktails at them and they opened up with tear gas.

Johnson said “seven or eight” arrests were made.

During the press briefing, Johnson said they would be taking “additional steps to quell the violence.” Shortly after, Gov. Nixon announced the deployment of the Missouri National Guard.

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