By Kyle Balluck
Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) early Monday signed an executive order deploying the Missouri National Guard to “help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens” of Ferguson, Mo., after more violent clashes between police and protesters.
Nixon said he took the action following "coordinated" attacks on civilians and law enforcement.
“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk," he said.
Two people were injured by shots fired by demonstrators, authorities said, and seven or eight people were arrested. Looting was also reported.
A private autopsy released by the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man whose shooting by a Ferguson police officer sparked a week of protests, showed Brown was shot twice in the head and four times in the right arm, according to multiple reports. The autopsy found no traces of gun powder, suggesting Brown was shot from a distance.
Two other autopsies are planned. One of those autopsies will be conducted by federal authorities, the Justice Department announced on Sunday.
The violence erupted just hours after Nixon said he was “hopeful” that progress was being made to ease tensions in Ferguson.
A curfew went into effect for the first time Sunday morning from midnight to 5 a.m. Nixon would not say when the curfew would end, but it "could be" several days.
"We are trying to use the least amount of force to provide people to — the ability to speak, while also protecting the property of the people of Ferguson," he said.
Seven people were arrested after the curfew went into effect early Sunday morning. Police also used smoke canisters and tear gas in their effort to reach a shooting victim at a barbeque restaurant.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Sunday called the initial police response to protesters a "shame and a disgrace" and said that people have a right to peacefully protest.
“When I was watching the film footage coming out of Ferguson, it looked like it was in Baghdad, or some other war torn zone," the civil rights leader said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "You know, Ferguson is a part of the United States of America. It’s not China; it’s not Russia; it’s not the Congo; it’s America. People have a right to protest. People have a right to engage in peaceful nonviolent action, and the press have a right to cover what is going on.”
"It is a shame and a disgrace that in a city that is almost 70 percent African-American, to have only 3 African-American police officers," he said.