Yamiche Alcindor / USAToday
FERGUSON, Mo. Seven people were arrested and one person shot early Sunday in Ferguson, Mo., as police and protesters clashed again in a haze of tear gas despite a curfew that took effect at midnight.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson said one person was shot overnight and is in critical condition, but he couldn't confirm whether the shooting victim was a protester.
The shooting happened on West Florissant Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Ferguson and the scene of protests for the last week, said Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson.
Meanwhile, seven people were arrested overnight and will face charges of failure to disperse. Early Sunday, members of the media were ordered to remain in the parking lot of the Ferguson Market or risk arrest.
The curfew, put in place by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, was designed to quell ongoing unrest in the St. Louis suburb since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was killed Aug. 9. The curfew expired at 5 a.m. local time.
Crowds had dwindled significantly leading up to the curfew, but remaining protesters chanting 'No justice! No curfew!' refused to leave the area. Some stood with their hands up, the emblematic pose used by many protesters to characterize the position witness have said Brown had assumed when he was fatally shot.
'We ready. We ready. We ready for y'all, ' people chanted, while others screamed 'We are Mike Brown.'
About 45 minutes past the curfew deadline, armored tactical vehicles approached the crowd in an effort to disperse those that refused to leave West Florissant Avenue.
'You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest,' officers spoke through a loudspeaker.
As officers put on gas masks, a chant from the distant crowd emerged: 'We have the right to assemble peacefully.'
Police used smoke and tear gas to push back the crowd of protesters, and officers also carried rifles, gas masks, plastic handcuffs and helmets.
'Obviously, we're trying to give them every opportunity to comply with the curfew,' Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. John Hotz said.
Police also brought in armored tanks after learning of some disturbances at Reds Barbecue, a local restaurant. En route, officers encountered a man who flashed a handgun and appeared in the middle of the street as armored vehicles approached the crowd of protesters.
'We had a subject standing in the middle of the road with a handgun,' Johnson said, but the man got away.
Johnson said someone also fired at a patrol car, but no officers were injured.
'I was disappointed in the actions of tonight,' Johnson said.
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who represents the 21st Ward, said he and other community members pleaded with everyone to obey the curfew.
'Some of the guys didn't want to be told to leave,' French said. 'There was no convincing them. They wanted to do civil disobedience.'
Umar Lee, 39, an independent journalist, who said he grew up in North St. Louis saw protesters were throwing canisters of gas deployed by the police back at the police during the tense clashes.
'This is surreal to see my hometown look like Gaza,' Lee said. 'I just pray for peace in my community.'