WASHINGTON - Missouri police Wednesday shot and critically wounded a man brandishing a gun, in the same suburb where an unarmed black teenager was killed by police just days ago.
Aspiring college student Michael Brown, 18, died Saturday in a police shooting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, sparking rioting and stirring comparisons to the February 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Early Wednesday police fired several shots at a 19-year-old who pointed a handgun in their direction as they dispersed around 30 people who had gathered near where the rioting had occurred, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The young man was taken to hospital and his name has not been released.
Officials meanwhile urged demonstrators to remain calm.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles called for "any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight."
"Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours," said the statement issued by Knowles and the Ferguson City Council.
Looters targeted more than a dozen businesses in the St. Louis suburb overnight Sunday after a vigil on the sidewalk where Brown died erupted into clashes with police armed with tear gas, clubs and rubber bullets.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama appealed for calm after what he called a "heartbreaking" incident, noting that the FBI had opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death.
Witnesses and police have given conflicting versions of how the teenager was shot in broad daylight, two days before he was due to start college.