ST. LOUIS - Authorities in St. Louis said early Tuesday that four police officers were shot during protests in the city’s downtown area and officers continue to be under fire.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden told reporters that two officers were shot in the leg and one was shot in the foot. The other was shot in the arm. Hayden said they were hit by gunfire while standing on the side of a police line amid protests in the city.
"As we speak we're trying to get control out of this city, still hearing gunfire and everything. I don't know what else to say. This is horrible," he said. "Thank God, they're alive."
Hayden added that he believes "some coward randomly shot at the police line."
Besides the shooting in St. Louis, there were reports of police being shot in Richmond Va. and Las Vegas. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
Unconfirmed video on Twitter showed chaos in the downtown area as police vehicles and cars were seen traveling throughout the smoke and fire filled streets. Dozens of shots could be heard.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that all of the officers were conscious and breathing after being rushed to the hospital.
Around 12:25 a.m. local time, “heavy gunfire” could be heard “coming from several directions downtown," according to the paper.
Fox 2 Now reported that earlier in the day, crowds formed outside the St. Louis Police headquarters in the city, and police set up defensive lines around the perimeter. The relative calm in the city during the day gave way to violence in the city that included a 7-Eleven being looted and set on fire.
Sometime later, Hayden said a group of 200 or so had no intention of protesting when they started throwing rocks and fireworks at officers.
Hayden said the rioters were hyping up the crowd and high fiving each other. He said they started throwing things at officers and then looting all over downtown.
“Officers exhibited extraordinary restraint,” Hayden said.
He added that officers only took measures to combat the crowd after things became violent outside of police headquarters. Police in riot gear threw tear gas at the crowd and started moving in lines to break up the rioters, according to St. Louis' KSDK.
"We had to protect our headquarters building, they were throwing fireworks on officers, fireworks were exploding on officers, they had officers that had gas poured on them....Mr. [George] Floyd was killed somewhere else and they're tearing up cities all across the country," Hayden said.
"I don't understand why this mayhem is going on across this country. Can we make some sense out of this?"
The report said that downtown businesses and construction sites were also set on fire.
A press release from the police did not identify the exact location of the gunfire but said police were still under fire.
"Please keep these officers in your thoughts and prayers, as well as all our brave first responders responding to the unfolding situation downtown tonight," St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson wrote on Facebook.
Protests across the U.S. were sparked after the death of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. There were reports emerging on Monday night that police became the target of some anarchists.
A video emerged Monday night that showed an SUV plowing through a line of officers responding to a protest in Buffalo, N.Y., hitting two law enforcement officers and speeding away. The officers were listed in serious condition and the suspected driver was apprehended.
Get updates on this story from FOXNEWS.com.
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