FERGUSON, Mo. -- Authorities say one person was shot and critically wounded and seven people were arrested as police used smoke and tear gas to impose a curfew in a St. Louis suburb.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson says his department's strong response early Sunday morning came after a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew took hold in Ferguson, and was precipitated by two events.
Johnson says concerns about people who'd broken into a barbecue restaurant and taken position on the roof overlooking approaching police was one concern. He says another concern involved a man flashing a handgun appeared in the middle of the street as armored vehicles approached.
Johnson says someone also fired at a patrol car, but no officers were injured.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot Aug. 9, prompting protests, unrest and claims of civil rights violations.
Police said they fired multiple smoke canisters into a crowd of defiant protesters who gathered in a St. Louis suburb early Sunday.
Hundreds of other protesters left peacefully before the midnight to 5 a.m. deadline took effect in Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown had been shot Aug. 9.
But remaining protesters — chanting "No justice! No curfew!" — refused to leave the area. As five armored tactical vehicles approached the crowd, officers spoke through a loudspeaker: "You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest."
As officers put on gas masks, a chant from the distant crowd emerged: "We have the right to assemble peacefully."
A moment later, police began firing canisters into the crowd of protesters.
Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. John Hotz said, "Obviously, we're trying to give them every opportunity to comply with the curfew." He said police only used smoke, not tear gas.
But some protesters disagreed, saying their faces and eyes burned. Others screamed in pain.
Jayson Ross, who was leading the protesters toward police, said: "They got guns. We got guns. We are ready."
The unrest between police and protesters came after Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Ferguson.
As the curfew approached late Saturday night, New Black Panther Party leader Malik Shabazz roamed the street with a bullhorn, encouraging people to leave for their own safety. Many appeared to follow his suggestion.
"C'mon you all, let's roll out," Shabazz said through his bullhorn. "Let's roll out of here, get some rest and come back tomorrow."
Crowds that were in the hundreds prior to the curfew had dwindled significantly in the final hour.