Missouri is ramping up National Guard presence in the streets of Ferguson after a day of rioting sparked by a grand jury decision not to issue indictments in the August shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer.
Gov. Jay Nixon will triple the deployment of National Guard troops in the St. Louis region to about 2,200 from 700 overnight.
“I am deeply saddened for the people of Ferguson who woke up to see parts of their community in ruins,” Nixon said.
“No one should have to live like this. No one deserves this. We must do better and we will.”
Nixon said National Guard troops were protecting public property and key infrastructure but would now be deployed to protect homes and businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
On Tuesday night, rioters set vehicles on fire, smashed windows and looted stores while police responded by firing non-lethal munitions and tear gas at crowds.
By morning, more than 20 businesses had been burned and more than 60 people arrested.
In Clayton, clergy led a prayer vigil followed by a peaceful march through the streets which was a stark contrast to the destruction that took place in nearby Ferguson.
Ferguson mayor James Knowles called for increased deployment of the National Guard to prevent further unrest.
He also said the decision to delay use of the National Guard to control crowds was “deeply concerning.”
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