ST. CLOUD — Reports of gunshots started a second night of unrest and looting in south St. Cloud late Monday night into Tuesday morning.In about a four-hour period starting at 10:20 p.m. Monday, up to 200 people gathered in the area of Ninth Avenue South and University Drive. About 11 p.m., sections of the crowd broke into the Southtown Liquor Store at the intersection and looted the store, according to a news release from St. Cloud Assistant Police Chief Jeff Oxton. About 40 people were taken into custody.
Throughout the four hours, police reported multiple gunshots, individuals throwing rocks, several reports of assaults within the crowd and three dumpster fires.
Tuesday morning’s events were in the same area a large crowd gathered early Monday morning after police arrested a man suspected of having a firearm.
During that arrest, the suspect fled and a police officer was shot in the hand when he was apprehended. The incident sparked false rumors of Black men being shot, which triggered that crowd to march to St. Cloud police headquarters, doing damage along the way and eventually at the police station early Monday morning.
The police release about unrest Monday night into Tuesday morning said while officers were investigating the initial shots fired call, numerous people started to congregate in the area, eventually taking over the roadway and blocking traffic. Police located no gunshot victims.
Individuals in the crowd began to throw rocks at officers and passing vehicles before the liquor store was breached. Multiple people entered the store, stealing items and causing damage, the release said.
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At that point, officers moved in to stop the looting. “Chemical crowd control munitions were successfully utilized” after warnings to disperse the crowd, the release stated.
Authorities took 37 adults and two juveniles into custody on suspicion of unlawful assembly by early Tuesday morning. All arrests were taken to the Stearns County Jail. One adult was taken into custody suspected of burglary of the liquor store. The release provided no names of those in custody.