(MILWAUKEE) -- Violence erupted in Milwaukee Saturday night after a police officer shot and killed a 23-year-old man, whom police say was armed.
Protesters filled the streets in the neighborhood where the shooting happened, and were met by riot gear-wearing police. According to police, between 200 and 800 people filled the streets. Three people were arrested police said late Saturday night.
According to Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, things got "out of hand" as people started to use Facebook to get the word out to congregate near the scene of the crime.
Then, the scene quickly became violent and chaotic: Protesters set four businesses and several police cars on fire, hurled bricks through police car windows, threw rocks at police and vandalized bus shelters and street lights. Some social media users posted videos of what appeared to be individuals looting a small grocery store.
An officer was hospitalized after being struck in the head by a brick that came crashing through his squad car's window.
Crowd breaks widows of unoccupied squad near Sherman and Auer. Other squad set afire and broken windows on another. pic.twitter.com/Jux2mJZYyQ— Milwaukee Police (@MilwaukeePolice) August 14, 2016
A BP gas station was also set on fire, but police said the blaze could not initially be extinguished due to gunshots being fired by protesters. Three people were inside the gas station, but they safely escaped, police said.
Blazes were also spotted burning at several other businesses, including an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store, a beauty salon and a bank.
Protesters also appeared to vandalize traffic lights and a bus shelter.
Earlier in the day, Milwaukee Police described the deceased suspect as a 23-year-old Milwaukee man "with a lengthy arrest record." His name was not released.
In a statement, Milwaukee Police said of the fatal shooting, "A Milwaukee Police officer shot and killed an armed suspect fleeing from a car on Milwaukee’s North Side. The incident began when two uniformed MPD officers stopped two suspects in a car in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street at about 3:30 p.m. on August 13. Shortly after stopping the suspects, both occupants fled from the car on foot. The officers pursued the suspects, and during the foot pursuit one officer shot one suspect, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, in a yard also in the 3200 block of N. 44th Street. The suspect died from his injuries at the scene."
At a press conference late Saturday night, mayor Tom Barrett elaborated on the foot chase, saying that the officer involved in the shooting was chasing the suspect when he was ordered to drop his weapon. When the suspect did not comply with orders, the officer fired several times hitting the suspect with 2 bullets in the chest and in the arm.
The officer, who was not injured, is a 24-year-old male with six years of service with the MPD, three years as an officer, MPD said.
Mayor Barrett said the officer was wearing a body camera which was operating at the time of the shooting.
Police earlier said that the handgun the suspect was armed with was taken in a burglary in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last March. The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun. Mayor Barrett said the gun that was recovered had 23 rounds in it.
Earlier in the day, police said in a statement that the officer "will be placed on administrative duty during the investigation and subsequent review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office."
At the late night press conference, a couple of city councilors spoke about "racial problems" and "injustices" that African-American residents face. One of the officials claimed local officials have neglected the area of the city where the shooting took place, turning a blind eye to murders and shootings.
Mayor Barrett says he plans to spend Saturday meeting with church and community leaders, adding that the police presence will continue to be very strong.
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