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Ferguson protests flare up after Freddie Gray's death

Looting and gunfire break out as several dozen people gathered to protest death of Baltimore man

Looting, fires and gunfire broke out overnight in Ferguson during protests in response to the death of a black man, who died after suffering a spinal-cord injury in police custody under unclear circumstances in Baltimore.

Several dozen people gathered to protest the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray Tuesday night on West Florissant Avenue, the site of several protests last summer and fall following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, by a white Ferguson police officer.

Gray died on April 19 in Baltimore, Maryland following a spinal-cord injury apparently suffered in police custody. 

In Ferguson, there were reports of two people being shot late Tuesday and early Wednesday, though it wasn't immediately clear if the shootings were linked to the protests.

In one instance, a man was shot in the leg and bystanders carried him to safety, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Police arrested a suspect and recovered the gun. Details about the second shooting were not immediately available.

A gas station was looted in Dellwood, near Ferguson. KMOV-TV reported that about 50 people entered a Mobil station about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Trash cans and a portable toilet were set on fire in the middle of West Florissant. Some people threw rocks at police cars. There were no reports of officers being injured.

St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said his department responded to a request by Ferguson police "to provide extra manpower" in the city, but could provide no information on the shooting or protest.

Footage on social media showed a heavy police presence in the area late Tuesday, with many officers clad in riot gear telling several dozen people to disperse. 

Tensions have remained high in the St. Louis region in the nearly nine months since Brown was shot. A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to prosecute officer Darren Wilson, who resigned from the police force in November.

On Monday, several protesters gathered in north St. Louis after police shot a suspect during a stolen car investigation.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said 41-year-old Alfred Graves threatened to kill an officer before firing shots at police in an alleyway. At least three officers returned fire, and Graves was struck in the face, leg and arm. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. 

Wire services 

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