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Violence breaks out after Milwaukee police shoot suspect dead

A police car with broken windows is seen in a photograph released by the Milwaukee Police Department after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 13, 2016.
Milwaukee Police/Handout via Reuters
A police car with broken windows is seen in a photograph released by the Milwaukee Police Department after disturbances following the police shooting of a man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 13, 2016.

Protesters fired gunshots, hurled bricks and set a gas station on fire in Milwaukee on Saturday night, hours after a patrol officer shot and killed an armed suspect who took flight after a traffic stop, authorities said.

The 23-year-old suspect, who had a lengthy arrest record, was carrying a stolen handgun loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition when police pulled over the vehicle for "suspicious activity," authorities said. A second suspect who fled from the vehicle was quickly taken into custody.

A statement by the Milwaukee Police Department did not say whether the suspect who was killed had fired any shots or pointed the weapon at officers during the incident. Authorities did not disclose the race or the name of the suspect or the uniformed officer.

Later, a crowd of more than 100 people in the predominately African-American section of the city where the shooting occurred hurled rocks as police officers in riot gear attempted to disperse the protesters.

Authorities said gunshots were fired during the disturbance. The windows of at least two squad cars were smashed, and one officer sitting inside one of the vehicles was hit in the head with a brick.

Protesters set a police car ablaze and fires broke out at gas station, an auto parts store and at least three other businesses, officials and local media reported.

"Our city is in turmoil tonight," said Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, president of the Milwaukee Common Council, said at a news conference as he appealed for calm.

Mayor Tom Barrett appealed for calm.

"This is a neighborhood that has been unfortunately affected by violence in the recent past," Barrett said, referring to a smaller disturbance a month earlier. "There are a lot of really, really good people who live in this area ... and can't stand this violence."

The unrest follows peaceful protests and some violence in U.S. cities over the past two years following high-profile killings by law enforcement officers in Baltimore, New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

The outrage over police violence has given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement and touched off a national debate over the race and policing in the United States.

"This is a warning cry," Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey said. "Black people of Milwaukee are tired. They are tired of living under this oppression."

As of 1 a.m. Central time, police had made three arrests in connection with the unrest, said Assistant Police Chief James Harpole, adding that gunshots were fired from various locations during the disturbances.

The officer involved in the shooting is 24 years old and a six-year veteran of the force, police said. He was placed on administrative duty during the investigation and subsequent review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, a standard practice after shootings by law enforcement officers.

Milwaukee Police Assistant Chief Bill Jessup told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it was not clear if the suspect pointed the gun or fired at the officers.

"Those additional facts will come out in the coming days," Jessup said.

Saturday's police shooting came after a violent night in Milwaukee. Five men were killed in nine shootings across the city, including a 36-year-old and 34-year-old who were fatally wounded outside a bar.

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