A heartbroken community in Missouri has come together to mourn the loss of an unarmed Black teen who was reportedly shot multiple times by a Ferguson police officer Saturday.
Michael Brown, 18, was discovered lying on the pavement by his own grandmother, Desiree Harris, who was expecting a visit from the recent high school graduate later that day.
According to witnesses, the teen had his hands up and had surrendered to the officer before he was shot several times. Witnesses say the shooting was unprovoked.
More than 100 residents of the St. Louis suburb came together to demand two things from authorities – answers and justice.
Senseless deaths of Black men at the hands of those in authority have been making headlines, and the people of Ferguson were devastated to learn one of their own residents had his life taken by someone who was hired to protect and serve the community.
As authorities attempted to begin their investigation, the massive crowd began chanting, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
Another group started chanting, “Kill the police,” although no physical altercation ever broke out and the entire protest remained extremely peaceful.
St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman told BuzzFeed that the protests never turned into a “riot” and that the community members had every right to be upset.
“They’re mad and they want justice, and we understand that, and we want to do a thorough investigation,” Schellman said.
Schellman also confirmed that it was a Ferguson officer who was involved in the shooting and that the St. Louis County department was brought in to assist with the investigation.
Harris told The Associated Press that she had just passed her grandson when she was in her car moments before the shooting.
When she heard a commotion outside her apartment building, she went outside to investigate, only to discover her grandson had been killed.
“He was running this way,” she told the AP. “When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn’t tell me nothing.”
It is still unclear what happened immediately before the shooting took place.
According to Brown’s friend, who was walking with him when the officer confronted them, the teen had already surrendered before he was shot 10 times with his arms up in the air.
“We wasn’t causing harm to nobody,” Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, told local reporters.
He said that he and Brown had been walking in the street when the officer told them to get out of the street.
Johnson said they continued walking and that’s when the officer allegedly got out of his car and shot one time.
He then said the shot frightened them so they ran in two separate directions.
“He shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air and started to get down,” Johnson continued. “And the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
The push for justice has spread rapidly online as well as throughout the St. Louis community.
The hashtag #JusticeForMikeBrown has already started trending, with many users focusing on the racial tensions behind the shooting and the community’s history.
The St. Louis area still remains deeply segregated today.
Other hashtags such as, “#CopsDontProtectPeopleOfColor” and “#WeAreTargets” have also started taking over social media.
Witnesses have been adamant about uploading videos and photos from the protest and the initial crime scene as they continue demanding justice for Brown.