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Stenger declares State of Emergency in St. Louis County

  

St. Louis — Following a shooting incident Sunday night in Ferguson that injured several people and left one suspect in critical condition, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger had declared a State of Emergency in St. Louis County. The shooting took place late Sunday night as a crowd of mostly peaceful protestors converged on the Ferguson Police Department, reminiscent of last year’s protests in the hours following Michael Brown’s death.

“In light of last night’s violence and unrest in the City of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency, effective immediately,” Stenger said in a statement.

Stenger’s move formally puts St. Louis County police in charge of the City of Ferguson and “the surrounding areas if necessary” to preserve the peace and maintain order during what local officials are expecting to be several more days of public demonstrations.

“The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger,” Stenger said. “The time and investment in Ferguson and Dellwood will not be destroyed by a few that wish to violate the rights of others. I commend the St. Louis County Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and other local agencies for their professional response as they work daily in the service of law, order, and peace. Pursuant to my executive order, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar shall immediately take over the operation of police emergency management in the City of Ferguson and surrounding areas. Chief Belmar shall exercise all powers and duties necessary to preserve order, prevent crimes, and protect the life and property of our citizens.”

Police returned fire last night when suspects in a vehicle opened fire on a group of individuals on the sidewalk. Police have said thus far they do not believe any of the participants in the shooting were directly connected to the rally, but returned fire when at least one suspect allegedly opened fire on police. Dozens of shots were fired according to witnesses and videos nearby.

Stenger’s declaration allows him to administer orders directly to St. Louis County Police, and will remain in effect until his office declares its end.

Read the full order here.