Violence tore through a large swath of western Baltimore Monday night, punctuating the week of protests and funeral for Freddie Gray—who died April 19 from a spinal injury he suffered while in police custody—with rioting, fires, and looting.
Rioters were witnessed hurling rocks, bricks, and bottles at police, leaving at least 15 officers injured, with six suffering serious injuries. Firefighters worked through the night and into the early morning hours Tuesday putting out fires. “A group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers,” Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters. “This is not OK.”
At least 24 people were arrested by police Monday night; more than a dozen were treated at local hospitals. Two people, the New York Times reports, were both in shot in the leg Monday night. Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore last night; mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew beginning Tuesday night.
Police say that at least 1,500 state troopers were in Baltimore Monday night and that “as many as 5,000” of the Maryland National Guard could be deployed to the city today. National Guard troops have already begun lining the streets, with a group set up at the Western District police station and “at least a hundred” armed with rifles standing guard along the city’s inner harbor, the Times reports.
Protests, which had taken a reprieve during Gray’s funeral, erupted into chaos shortly thereafter, with rioters leaving a trail of blazing buildings and pillaged stores. Violence first broke out at Mondawmin Mall, shortly after school let out for the day, and escalated from there, concentrating along Pennsylvania and North Avenues. Protesters and rioters alike were met with force by local police clad in riot gear; cops were witnessed driving up cars and firing pepper spray and tear gas; teenagers battled officers in the street. From the Baltimore Sun:
A CVS store on Pennsylvania Avenue was looted and then set aflame, thick smoke billowing into the air. A Save-a-Lot in Bolton Hill was vandalized, and residents in the neighborhood were left to fend for themselves as police diverted resources to Mondawmin.
As afternoon turned to evening, looting spread along Howard and Centre streets. A group of people destroyed property around North and Fulton avenues, police said, and a car was set on fire at North Avenue and Pulaski Street.
About five stores in the 600 block of Eutaw Street were looted at about 4 p.m., witnesses said.
Where violence reportedly broke out in Baltimore Monday night, as plotted by the Sun:
Rawlings-Blake decried last night’s riots as the actions of “thugs who only want to incite violence and destroy our city.”
Billy Murphy, the attorney representing Gray’s family, said Tuesday that Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in as Attorney General just yesterday, “will conduct a thorough investigation into Freddie Gray’s death.”
Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, pleaded with rioters, telling the Sun, “I want you all to get justice for my son. Don’t do it like this.”