At least three people were killed after “multiple shootings” were reported in downtown Indianapolis Saturday night into early Sunday morning as protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis turned into violent riots.
“Enough is enough,” IMPD Police Chief Randal Taylor told reporters shortly before midnight. “Indianapolis, we are better than this. Downtown is not safe at this time. Residents who do not live in the downtown area, we’re asking to please vacate the area.”
Between 11:45 p.m. and 3 a.m., five people were reportedly shot, three of whom died as the protests became dangerous for a second straight night in Indianapolis.
Earlier in the evening, the IMPD put out an advisory, telling residents to avoid the downtown area.
“We are investigating multiple shootings downtown,” police tweeted. “These are NOT officer-involved incidents.”
Police said officers fired no shots during the overnight hours.
The protests over the police violence against black Americans in Indianapolis started calm Saturday afternoon, as demonstrators gathered in the afternoon in the city’s Monument Circle.
But after sunset, tension began to rise and the protests turned violent, with people breaking windows and setting fires, FOX59 reported.
Taylor told reporters that such behavior wouldn’t be tolerated, urging everyone to go home.
“If you’re still down here tonight you are more than likely into something that you shouldn’t be and we want you to go home,” he said.
Buildings in the city’s downtown were damaged, officers deployed tear gas and at least one business was briefly on fire.
At least one IMPD officer had minor injuries from an unspecified incident.
Deputy Chief Josh Barker said some arrests were reported but did not have a definite number, according to the IndyStar.
“There were several people down here who had no intention to protest. Their intention was to riot,” Barker said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said that earlier in the day, the city hosted a “successful protest” that allowed hundreds to “lift up their cause and have their voices safely heard.”
“Since it ended, a small group of people have chosen to diminish that activism through inexcusable violence,” the mayor said. “It is unacceptable, and it must stop.”
Much like Friday, Saturday’s demonstration began peacefully but turned violent as the sun began to set. Taylor said that on Friday, at least 30 businesses were damaged and 27 people were arrested during demonstrations that continued through at least 4 a.m.
The violence in Indianapolis and many other cities were sparked by anger over Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Monday, which was captured on cellphone video.
It led to the firing Tuesday of the four police officers who were arresting Floyd for suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill. Third-degree murder and manslaughter charges were filed Friday against the officer who used his knee to pin Floyd down, as Floyd pleaded for air.
A sweeping number of riots and looting in major cities across the U.S. starting Friday night and lasting through Sunday morning have prompted curfews and calls for the National Guard to respond to cities and states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.