Nearly a dozen deaths tied to continuing unrest in US

The deaths have at times been overshadowed by the shocking images of heavy-handed police tactics, vandalism and arson.

Louisville protests
Two women pray in Louisville, Kentucky near the intersection where David McAtee was killed on Sunday evening [Darron Cummings/AP Photo]

One man was a retired St Louis police captain checking on his friend’s shop. Another was the beloved owner of a Louisville barbecue restaurant who provided free meals to officers. Yet another was a man known as “Mr Indianapolis”, a former star football player.

They are among those killed as protests have roiled American cities in the week since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis officer jammed a knee into his neck.

The deaths, as well as widespread peaceful protests, have at times been overshadowed by the shocking images of heavy-handed police tactics, vandalism and arson. Dozens have been injured in the chaos.

The death toll and circumstances of the killings are still being sorted out in many cities, but here is what we know so far:

St Louis, Missouri

A 77-year-old retired St Louis police captain who served 38 years on the force was shot and killed by looters at a pawn shop early on Tuesday, authorities said.

David Dorn was found dead on the sidewalk in front of the ransacked store. Police have not released details about what led to the shooting, and no one has been arrested.

The shooting apparently was streamed on Facebook Live but has been taken down. It came on a violent night in St Louis, which saw four officers shot, businesses burned and ransacked, and people pelting officers with rocks hours following a peaceful protest.

Dorn was a friend of the pawn shop’s owner and frequently checked on the business when alarms went off, wife Ann Marie Dorn told the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

Dorn’s personality was “bigger than life”, said former St Louis County police chief Tim Fitch. “He was a fun guy, a happy guy.”

Dorn retired in October 2007 and then became police chief of Moline Acres, a small town north of St Louis.

Louisville, Kentucky

Police and the National Guard troops trying to clear a crowd on Monday heard gunshots and returned fire, killing David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue restaurant.

The mayor fired the police chief after finding out officers did not turn on their body-worn cameras. State police and the US attorney are also investigating.

McAtee was a 53-year-old African American man known for offering free meals to officers who stopped by his restaurant.

“We lost a wonderful citizen,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “David was a friend to many, a well-known barbecue man.”

Acting police chief Robert Schroeder said on Tuesday that video from security cameras at McAtee’s business and an adjoining store showed McAtee firing a gun as officers approached.

“This video does not provide all the answers. But we are releasing it to provide transparency. It does not answer every question, including why did he fire and where were police at the time he fired,” Schroeder said.

Oakland, California

A federal officer was providing security at a US courthouse during a protest when someone fired shots from a vehicle. Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, died and another officer was critically wounded.

It was not immediately clear if the drive-by shooting was related to the protests, though the federal building’s glass doors were smashed and the front entrance was sprayed with anti-police graffiti. No one has been arrested.

Underwood, who was Black, and the other officer were contracted security officers employed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service. They were monitoring a nearby protest.

Underwood was the brother of Angela Underwood Jacobs, recently a Republican candidate to fill a vacant congressional seat north of Los Angeles.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Two people were killed this past weekend amid unrest, including 38-year-old Chris Beaty, a former offensive lineman for Indiana University football team.

Beaty was known as “Mr Indianapolis” and remained involved with the Hoosiers long after graduation. He was also a prominent businessman, running multiple nightclubs.

“I am at a loss for words. The news of the passing of Chris Beaty is just devastating,” coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “Since I returned home to coach at Indiana, Chris embraced me, encouraged me and supported me! His passion for life and Indiana Football energized me every time we were together.”

The circumstances of Beaty’s shooting were not immediately clear, but some media reports said it happened near his apartment. It came the same night an 18-year-old man was fatally shot as protests erupted in the city.

Davenport, Iowa

Police are investigating the deaths of 22-year-old Italia Kelly, who was shot on Monday while leaving a protest outside a Walmart, and of a man found near where suspects exchanged gunfire with police in the city of 100,000 people on the Mississippi River.

Kelly and a friend were getting in a vehicle to leave because a protest had turned unruly when she was struck in the back by a bullet, said her aunt, Amy Hale of Atchison, Kansas. No arrests have been made.

“She was always smiling, always laughing. That’s why it’s so sad that she was taken in such a violent way,” Hale said. “That is not Italia. She was the bright, bubbly big personality in the room.”

Separately, authorities said an officer was “ambushed” with gunfire on Sunday. Another officer shot back, and the suspects fled but were arrested.

Near where the officer was wounded, police found a man shot dead and a handgun under his body. His identity was not released.

Police said surveillance video shows that the man and some of the arrested suspects were involved in a shooting outside a jewellery store hours earlier. They were casing the business when other cars arrived and multiple people fired shots at each other, police said.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

In what is believed to be the first killing since the protests broke out, Calvin L Horton Jr was fatally shot outside a pawn shop last week.

The owner of the pawn shop, who is white, was arrested in the death of Horton, a 43-year-old Black man. Police say they are investigating the circumstances of the killing, including whether it was related to protests in the neighbourhood.

The shop was described as having been significantly damaged during the unrest.

Omaha, Nebraska

James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black man, was killed on Saturday after authorities said he tussled with the owner of two downtown bars. Surveillance video of the strip of bars shows a group of people, including Scurlock, approach white bar owner Jake Gardner.

Two people shove Gardner to the ground, and he fired shots in the air. Seconds later, Scurlock is seen jumping on Gardner, who then fires the gun over his shoulder, striking Scurlock.

Authorities have declined to press charges in the death, calling the shooting self-defence. But Gardner could still face misdemeanour gun charges because his concealed carry permit for the gun had expired, the police chief said.

Detroit, Michigan

A 21-year-old man was killed in downtown Detroit after someone fired shots into a vehicle during a protest. According to a police report, the man was sitting in the driver’s seat of a car in a car park with two others when someone opened fire and then ran away.

Cicero, Illinois

Two people were killed during unrest on Monday in the suburb of Cicero, according to a town official. Spokesman Ray Hanania did not provide details about those who were killed but said it happened during protests.

Source: AP