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The Third Precinct police station in Minneapolis was set ablaze Thursday night as violent protests continued in the city — and other cities across the U.S. — following Monday’s death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody.
More than 500 members of the National Guard were heading to the Twin Cities region, called in by Gov. Tim Walz, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.
Rioters broke into the precinct around 10 p.m. local time, after police on the rooftop previously tried to disperse a gathering crowd using “flash bang” shots and tear gas, according to reports.
The rioters entered the building and sparked the fire after police officers on the roof were rescued by helicopter, reports said.
The precinct is located only a short distance away from where Floyd died Monday. Video images showing Floyd lying in the street with a police officer’s knee against his neck, sparked outrage across the nation. Four police officers connected to the incident were fired Tuesday.
Earlier Thursday evening, a separate fire erupted about two blocks from the police station — with no apparent immediate signs of response from the city’s fire department.
On Wednesday, rioters were shown vandalizing the same police station that officers were defending Thursday night.
Across the Twin Cities region, businesses were seen boarded up in a bid to prevent vandalism and looting.
Around midday Thursday, dozens of looters rushed toward a Target store in an apparent attempt to loot it but were turned away by responding police, The Associated Press reported. The crowd then moved on to other nearby stores.
Target, with corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, later announced it was temporarily closing about two dozen stores in the Twin Cities area.
Minneapolis also shut down much of its light-rail and bus systems through Sunday out of safety concerns, the Associated Press reported.
In St. Paul, spokesman Steve Linders said authorities were dealing with incidents in roughly 20 different parts of the city.
More unrest was reported Thursday evening in cities such as New York City, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this story.