As tension in Ferguson, Missouri shows no sign of dissipating after over a week of clashes between authorities and protesters, another black man in the St. Louis area has been killed by police.
St. Louis police said today that a 25-year-old man wielding a knife was shot and killed by two officers responding to calls about a convenience store robbery. The man had stolen energy drinks and pastry from the convenience store and was pacing around in front of the store when officers arrived, according to police and witnesses.
When confronted with police, the man reportedly told officers to "shoot me now, kill me now" repeatedly.
"The store owner and the alderwoman said the suspect was armed with a knife, acting erratically, pacing back and forth in the street, talking to himself," said St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson, who spoke to reporters at the scene of the incident.
According to Dotson, neither of the two officers at the scene were injured, and they have been put on administrative leave pending an investigation. An angry crowd had begun to gather at the scene while Dotson was speaking, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The crowd in St. Louis.
The incident occurred in the city's Sixth Ward, only miles east from where Michael Brown was shot on August 9.
The protests following that incident — now in their second week — show no sign of letting up, and the atmosphere in Ferguson has grown tenser by the night.
Monday night's demonstrations were the first for which the National Guard was deployed, though members of the Guard were nowhere to be seen on West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of the protests. However, the police were out in full force.
According to arrest records obtained by NBC News, 78 people were arrested overnight, though authorities had originally claimed that only 31 had been arrested. Most of those arrested were from Missouri, though some were from as far away as New York and California, and nearly all of them were arrested for "failure to disperse."
Though Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called off the curfew on Monday, police were already trying to keep protesters from gathering early in the evening.
The protests continued peacefully until later in the night when police began attempting to disperse crowds with tear gas and other measures. Police were claiming they were being shot at and were having objects thrown at them, and have said they fired no shots themselves.
"You are unlawfully assembling and you are subject to arrest and/or other measures," police repeatedly yelled at protesters through loudspeakers.
But there was no violence from protesters when police started responding — first with smoke, then with tear gas.
The crowd on the street Monday night was slightly smaller than in previous days — largely because police had been trying to disperse protesters for hours already, making several arrests. Many people refused to clear the street, and some threw trash towards police. A man pulled up a "yield" street sign and dragged it to the middle of the street, refusing to leave.
As the tensions quickly exploded, police blocked off the two main access points to the street, telling people to "disperse" but effectively preventing them from getting home.
"We were told to head in this direction, there was tear gas shot in this direction," Jackson Brown, a local resident who found himself stranded on West Florissant Avenue as police started to push forward, told VICE News in frustration. "Then we were pushing back this way and officials told us to go back the other way, where we were told to disperse."
"You can't tell us to go this way, when this guy just told us to go this way," his friend added.
"Every night we're getting closer to someone getting killed," Cleo Willis, an elderly resident who was watching police from a sidewalk with tears in his eyes, told VICE News. "Tonight might be the night. I hope I'm wrong."
"What will tomorrow night bring?" he added.
But with all the tension, solidarity is palpable across Ferguson. Volunteers from across the country have flocked to the area, and many have started donation drives to help local residents.
On Monday night, volunteers were handing out free hot dogs and giving words of support to protesters and residents alike. In a church near the area blocked off by police, residents have set up a "safe space" where people can find shelter when fleeing police gas, or when they are unable to go home because the streets are on lockdown.
Jess Luby, a young single mom from Minneapolis, told VICE News she drove nine hours to Ferguson with two friends — carrying gas masks, water, and milk and antacid to combat the effects of tear gas.
"We were watching a livestream of everything happening here, and decided that we couldn't sit in our kitchen crying at three in the morning, and so we got together and we were like, 'let's go,'" she said, adding that she raised $500 for supplies from friends. "You just have to go, and see what's happening, and help."
"I'm just so sad and angry that this is happening," said Luby. "The fact that they can take a community and turn it into a war zone, when people are trying to be peaceful, doesn't make any sense."
Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi
VICE News' Jordan Larson contributed to this report