PIX11 in Ferguson: Gunfire erupts after what had been peaceful anniversary of Michael Brown’s death

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FERGUSON, Mo – A peaceful night remembering 18-year-old Michael Brown turned into a violent one as a gunfire exchange left one man critically injured in Ferguson, Missouri.

PIX11 reporterJay Dow and photographer Kenton Young were standing at least 100 feet away from the shooting.

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Police said the young man was hurt after shooting at plainclothes officers who then returned fire. The man is said to be "critical, unstable condition."  This was one of at least two shootings in the Ferguson area.

The gunfire comes one year to date when unarmed teenager was killed by police officer Darren Wilson, who was exonerated for his death. His killing sparked outrage and protests nationwide against police brutality.

Before bullets flew, PIX11 caught tensions brewing between protesters and police on video.

WARNING: Graphic language was used in videos below.

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Among the hundred or so protesters late Sunday night was Yolanda Allen and her 11-year-old son.

She defended her decision to bring him amid friction between demonstrators and police.

"He gotta see what we [are] teaching our sons now," Allen said. "I am worried about his safety but at the same time he got to be educated."

Another Ferguson resident had a contrasting opinion regarding significance of the protests, questioning the large group of young people in attendance.

"I'm seeing stupidity," this 43-year-old man said. "What are we going to do."

Prior to the shooting, civil disobedience rallies commemorating the life of Michael Brown were peaceful and constructive.

Erica Garner, the daughter of the late Eric Garner who died during an illegal police chokehold on Staten Island, was present at the ceremony honoring Brown.

There is a sense among the majority of Ferguson residents that positive change is coming.

In St. Louis County, Urban League chapter president Mike McMillan believes it took the death of Brown to bring what was needed here years ago: a community empowerment center that will focus on creating jobs, child recreation, and mental health.

“Based on the death of Michael Brown, and the reaction from the government, and the militarized response from the police, and all of the consistent protests, is that it took all of that together, to bring attention to what had been happening in that community for decades already,” McMillan said.

While there are some aspects to look forward to despite the violent end to Brown's vigil, Ella Jones — one of the three Black newly elected members of City Council — told PIX11 too many of Ferguson’s young people get tripped up – that is, arrested or worse, in the criminal justice system following their interaction with the police.

“We must to continue to communicate with one another,” said Councilwoman Jones.

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