KENOSHA, Wis. — Three people were shot early Wednesday, two fatally, law enforcement officials said, during a chaotic night of demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black resident whose children were nearby as their father was shot this week by a white police officer.
In Kenosha, a third night of protests over the shooting of Mr. Blake stretched into the early morning hours of Wednesday, after demonstrators clashed with law enforcement officials near the county courthouse downtown.
Tuesday evening was spent in a shifting, hourslong standoff between the police and protesters. Protesters assembled outside a newly erected metal barrier protecting the courthouse and threw water bottles, rocks and fireworks at the police.
The police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, repeatedly warning the crowd through a bullhorn that they were violating the city curfew of 8 p.m. and risking arrest. The crowd was eventually forced out of the park with tear gas and onto city streets, where the standoff continued.
Many protesters left the area, but others lingered and walked to a gas station several blocks away. There, a group of men with guns stood outside, promising to protect the property and verbally sparring with the arriving protesters. As the night stretched on, the gas station became a tense gathering spot, with bystanders watching from parked cars and people milling around in the street, arguing and occasionally shoving each other.
Police officers had crept closer to the gas station in armored trucks, urging the people who were still there to go home.
After midnight, shots were fired outside the gas station. Three people were struck, Sheriff David Beth said in an interview. The Kenosha Police Department said in a statement that there were two fatalities, and that one person had been taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Sheriff Beth said that the investigation was focused on the group of men with guns outside the gas station, and that investigators were scouring video taken just before the shooting.
In one video, the men are shouting at each other, clutching their guns and occasionally pulling each other away to defuse the conflict.
“I’ve had people saying, ‘Why don’t you deputize citizens?’” he said. “This is why you don’t deputize citizens with guns to protect Kenosha.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, had told reporters that she opposed the sort of destruction that had been left by protests spurred by her son’s shooting. On earlier nights, buildings and trucks had been burned down in Kenosha, a city of 100,000 people, where more than 100 members of the Wisconsin National Guard have been deployed amid the unrest.
Ms. Jackson told reporters that she had been praying for the country to heal.
“I’ve noticed a lot of damage,” she said. “It doesn’t reflect my son or my family.”
Mr. Blake, she and other family members said, is conscious in a hospital after being shot seven times. Family members and lawyers said that he was partially paralyzed from a bullet that severed his spinal cord and unaware of the protests that have spread across the country in his name.
Mr. Blake’s parents and siblings denounced the police and pleaded for justice.
It was a “senseless attempted murder,” Mr. Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said as he broke down and wept. “They shot my son seven times, like he didn’t matter.”
He said he had no confidence that the shooting of a Black man by a white officer would be fairly investigated.
That investigation is in the hands of the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, which has not released basic information about the shooting, including the name of the officer, who has been placed on administrative leave.
The Kenosha Police Department, which has also declined to provide details of what happened, has been at the center of criticism from demonstrators, who protested for a third night on Tuesday.