Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to Ferguson early Monday, hours after police used tear gas to clear protesters off the streets following a week of demonstrations against the fatal police shooting of a black Missouri teenager.
In a statement, Nixon said the National Guard would help "in restoring peace and order" to the St. Louis suburb that has been filled almost nightly with angry, defiant crowds since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed Aug. 9.
"These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served and to feel safe in their own homes," Nixon said.
The latest confrontations came the same day Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a third autopsy on Brown. A preliminary private autopsy found the unarmed teen was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Results of a state-performed autopsy have not been released.
As night fell in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street and authorities — who said they were responding to reports of gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails — pushed them back by repeatedly firing tear gas. The streets were empty well before a state-imposed curfew took effect at midnight.
"Based on the conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of response," said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is command in Ferguson.
At least two people were wounded in shootings by civilians, he said.
The "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding Brown's death and a request by his family prompted the Justice Department's decision to conduct another autopsy, agency spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement earlier Sunday. The results would be taken into account along with the state examination in the Justice Department's ongoing civil rights investigation into the shooting, Fallon said.
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