“The AutoZone Auto Parts store across from the Third Precinct was set afire. As some protesters tried to extinguish the fire, others danced gleefully in front of the flames and smoke, snapping selfies,” The Star Tribune reported. “At the nearby Lake Street Target store, looters were seen leaving with items ranging from large TVs to clothing to groceries. Looting also occurred at Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits, at Hiawatha and Lake, and at many other businesses in the area.”
Liz Sawyer, a reporter with the Star Tribune said that all the windows in a strip mall were shattered and people were stealing products from the stores.
Sawyer added: “Many of the shops destroyed along this stretch of Lake Street are immigrant-owned businesses — many of which were already struggling during the pandemic. ‘Now it’s worse,’ said Roberto Hernandez, who stood guard outside his nutrition store for 5 hours to protect it from looters.”
CBS Minnesota reported that the crowd of violent rioters measured in the hundreds and were eventually met by police officers in riot gear who deployed tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the mob.
A video journalist with the Star Tribune took a photograph of what he described as an “apartment building under construction” moments before the building was set ablaze.
Libor Jany, a reporter for the Star Tribune, noted an incident that he says he heard on a police scanner, tweeting, “Scanner: A newish silver SUV driving about 50 miles an hour almost hit about 10 officers; the driver may’ve flashed a handgun at officers.”
President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter before the riots descended into total chaos, saying that he has ordered federal officials to quickly investigate Floyd’s death.
“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd,” Trump tweeted. “I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!”
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz warned residents on Twitter: “The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.”