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Riot erupts following shooting death of unarmed black teen in Missouri

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[August 11, 2014]  By Victoria Cavaliere
 (Reuters) - Rioting and looting erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, late on Sunday as protests over the killing of a black teenager by a police officer turned violent, law enforcement officials and media reports said.

Crowds broke the windows of cars and stores following a day of demonstrations over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old shot dead on Saturday by a Ferguson police officer.

"We are currently experiencing a riot," a Ferguson police dispatcher said.

About 150 officers in riot gear from throughout St. Louis County, along with canine units, were sent to the area, a dispatcher for the St. Louis County Police Department said.

There was no immediate word on injuries.

Police said Brown was shot after a struggle over a gun in a police car. It was not immediately clear why Brown as in the car. At least one shot was fired during the struggle, and then the office fired more shots before leaving the car.

The officer, who was not identified, is a six-year veteran and has been put on administrative leave, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told a news conference.

"It is our understanding at this point in the investigation, that within the police car, there was a struggle over the officer's weapon," Belmar said.

Protests erupted soon after the shooting in Ferguson, a town of about 23,000 people some 20 miles (32 km) north of St. Louis. Some demonstrators shouted "kill the police".

Sunday's protests turned violent after dark, according to news station KMOV-TV, with rioters smashing the window of a store and damaging cars. The crowd broke the windows of a news truck, the station said.

A teenage girl told KMOV that a QuikTrip convenience store was being looted. Asked what looters were taking, she said, "Everything. They destroyed everything."

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Brown's mother told local TV broadcaster KSDK that her son was a "good child getting ready to go to college" and that he was visiting his grandmother when the incident took place.

"He didn't bother nobody," she said. "They told me how many times my son was shot - eight," she added.

The St. Louis County branch of the civil rights group NAACP has said it wants the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into the case, with many in the community telling media that race played a factor in the shooting.

The police did not give any details about the officer's race.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Kervin Murphy in Kansas City, Ian Simpson in Washington, Chris Michaud in New York and Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle)

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