Ferguson, Missouri, residents and law enforcement agencies alike are gearing up for a potentially violent aftermath from the long-awaited grand jury ruling on Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug 9. Gov. Jay Nixon said at a press conference Tuesday that local and state law enforcement agencies, including the Missouri National Guard, will all work in a unified command when the grand jury decision is reached, for which a date has yet to be determined. Nixon said the law enforcement agencies will be prepared for both peaceful and violent protests in the majority-black St. Louis suburb, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Gun sales in Ferguson and surrounding towns have reportedly increased as St. Louis County grand jury nears a decision. Steven King, who owns Metro Shooting Supplies near Ferguson, told CNN that customers bought 100 guns over the weekend, compared to a typical weekend of 30 buyers. King told CNN his gun sales “went up exponentially” following the protests in August in the aftermath of Brown’s shooting death and recently “have started to skyrocket once again.” John Stephenson, the manager at Metro Shooting Range nearby, told CNN gun sales are up 40 to 50 percent since last week.
Nixon also announced the creation of a commission to investigate issues raised by the near-daily protests that have occurred in Ferguson after the shooting death of 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. Nixon said at the press conference that the violent protests “were not representative of Missouri and cannot be repeated,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said the panel is not expected to decide on whether or not to indict Wilson until mid- to late November at the earliest. “I realize that this is a much-anticipated decision and that there is daily, if not hourly, speculation about when the announcement will be released. Once the work of the grand jury is completed and they have made a determination, my office will advise the public and the media when their decision will be released,” McCulloch said in a statement Monday afternoon, adding that any claims of a grand jury decision announced on social media or other platforms “are rank speculation and should be ignored.”