Police with bullhorns ordered black youths off the streets and restricted gun and gasoline sales Friday, a day after a violent riot began with a white policeman's killing of a black motorist.
The slain motorist's brother pleaded with people to stay calm."My little brother is gone," Roderick Pringles said. "I don't think burning down no buildings is going to bring him back."
Police Chief Darrel Stephens declared a 72-hour "state of emergency" preventing sales of guns and gasoline in containers. State police were mobilized and 200 National Guardsmen were on standby.
The Justice Department dispatched a conflict resolution team and began a preliminary inquiry into the riot, and Mayor David Fischer called on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to evaluate the city's race relations, again.
Four years ago, the commission gave the city a failing grade for race relations but bumped it to a "B" in an evaluation two years later.
This Gulf Coast retirement haven, where the population of 240,000 is roughly 20 percent black, had basked in the national spotlight two weeks ago as host of the vice presidential debate.
Now, the spotlight captured streets on fire, police officers in riot gear, and teens throwing rocks and bottles.
"The city worked so hard on its image," Fischer said. "You hope you bring your city to a point where this doesn't happen. Obviously we haven't gotten there yet."
"I'm baffled," added city human relations director Jim Yates. "The feeling was that things had greatly improved, but we could have been wrong. It happened so fast, it was a surprise to us."
Crowds began swarming Thursday night minutes after a traffic stop where the officer shot a motorist whose car lurched forward. Tyron Lewis, 18, was the sixth victim of a police shooting this year.
At least 11 people, including a police officer who was shot and a news photographer who was beaten, were injured in the riots. At least 28 buildings were burned as mobs roamed a 25-square-block area throwing rocks and bottles early into Friday. Twenty people were arrested, police said.
Hundreds of people roamed the streets, setting fires and throwing bricks at riot-equipped police.