Three people have been shot, one of them fatally, as gunfire broke out on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, on the third straight day of unrest sparked by the police shooting of a black man, the New York Times reports, citing law enforcement.
Social media video showed a gun battle among civilians, with several people rushing a man with a long gun who apparently had been knocked to the ground.
The video shows him firing at the people rushing towards him, one of whom falls to the ground. Several other shots are heard in the background.
Jacob Blake Junior, was left paralysed and fighting for his life after being shot in the back by police on Saturday, sparking civil unrest in the lakeside town.
Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets, tear gas and flash-bang rounds as they skirmished after dark on Tuesday with 300 to 400 demonstrators defying a dawn-to-dusk curfew outside a courthouse and adjacent park in downtown Kenosha.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department also deployed at least four armored patrol vehicles fitted with roof turrets from which deputies fired tear gas canisters into the crowd, many of whom hurled water bottles, bricks, firecrackers and other objects back at police.
But there was no immediate sign of buildings or cars being set ablaze, as happened on Monday night.
The disturbances came hours after Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency and vowed to deploy additional National Guard troops in a bid to restore order in the town, while the mother of the man who was shot, Jacob Blake Jr, publicly appealed for calm.
Blake, 29, a father of six, was struck from behind at point-blank range in a hail of bullets fired on Sunday by police who were following him with guns drawn as he walked away from officers to his car and opened a door to the vehicle.
Three of his young sons inside the automobile – aged 3, 5 and 8 – witnessed their father being gunned down, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Blake family.
Blake, who had been attempting to break up a quarrel between two women, was struck by four of seven gunshots fired at him, all by one officer, and there was “no indication he was armed,” Crump said in an ABC News interview on Tuesday.
The police have not explained why Blake was shot.
Crump and another lawyer for the Blake family, Patrick Salvi II, said bullets shattered some of Blake’s vertebrae, leaving him paralysed from the waist down – possibly permanently.
He also suffered gunshot wounds to his stomach and gastrointestinal tract, requiring surgeons to remove most of his colon and small intestine, and sustained damage to his kidney, liver and an arm, they said.
“It’s going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again,” Crump said, adding that the family intended to bring a lawsuit “to hold wrongdoers accountable.”
Family and protesters are demanding that the officers involved in the shooting, who have been placed on administrative leave, be fired and prosecuted.
The shooting occurred three months after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.