A grand jury chose Monday not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, in August. Violence, looting, fires and gunshots erupted as anger broke out immediately.
At Ferguson police headquarters, protesters pelted officers with bottles, officers reported shots fired, and a team in riot gear ordered a crowd of several hundred people to disperse. Nearby, St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas to break up unruly crowds as helicopters circled the area.
A police car was one of the first objects to be set alight. An MSNBC reporter saw fire and looting in a cellphone store and a window that had been smashed at a McDonald's. Police and protesters stared each other down on an interstate, and a gas station, pizzeria, several more cars and a storage facility were among other buildings engulfed by flames.
Scattered volleys of what reporters described as gunfire could be heard more than two hours after the announcement of the grand jury's decision. St. Louis police reported "heavy automatic gunfire" late into the night.
Just after 1 a.m. ET, police said that an officer in Universal City, a suburb north of St. Louis, had been shot in the arm. Authorities later said the shooting was unrelated to the protests in Ferguson.
The protests were so volatile that arriving airplanes were diverted from the airport in St. Louis, and the Federal Aviation Administration ordered planes out of the airspace over Ferguson.
President Barack Obama, speaking late at night from the White House even as clashes were erupting in Ferguson, called on both sides to exercise restraint.
"We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we have to accept this decision was the grand jury's to make," Obama said.