Man shot by police near Missouri city at center of protests

Washington, Aug 13 (EFE).- A man was injured by police gunfire early Wednesday not far from where, for the third consecutive night, incidents have been occurring after the death of a young black man at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson, a city in west-central Missouri.

St. Louis County police confirmed that officers shot and wounded an armed man about 1 a.m. after having been alerted about a shootout and the presence of four masked individuals who were carrying firearms.

The man, who allegedly pointed a weapon at one of the officers, was hospitalized and is in critical condition while his weapon was confiscated at the scene of the incident, police said.

For the third consecutive night, there were disturbances after a vigil held for Michael Brown, who was killed last Saturday by a police officer in an incident that is being investigated by the local police and the FBI.

After the vigil, which for most of the time was peaceful, several young men covered their faces with their t-shirts and, after a confrontation with police, they were dispersed with tear gas.

The police have refused to reveal the identity of the officer who shot Brown to death, a situation that has increased tensions in the community, where - from the beginning - residents have demanded to know the officer's name.

The police have argued that there have been anonymous threats posted on the social networks and, for the present, they do not want to make public the identity of the officer, who has been on the Ferguson force for six years and who has been placed on administrative leave.

Just three of Ferguson's 53 police officers are black, in a town where two-thirds of the 21,000 residents are African American.

Brown "physically assaulted" the officer who fired his weapon, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.

Brown, who was unarmed, fell dead on the street some 10 meters (yards) from a police car.

Hundreds of people gathered at the scene of the killing on Sunday night and while the majority prayed, some groups spread out, halted vehicle traffic and began looting, attacking several stores selling auto parts, shoes, cell phones, clothing and assorted other products. EFE