Violent Riots Erupt in Baltimore After Freddie Gray’s Funeral

UPDATED: April 27, 2015 12:15 p.m.

WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — Riots and looting continued late into the evening in Baltimore Monday, causing chaos and prompting a state of emergency and a city-wide curfew.

Fifteen officers were injured and at least two-dozen rioters were arrested.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts says all of the officers injured are going to be okay.

“The city is calming itself down slowly but surely,” Batts said at an 11 p.m. news conference.

He condemned the rioters, saying, “This is not protesting. This is not your first amendment right.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was also visibly angered by the situation.

“It’s idiotic to think by destroying your city you’re going to make life better for anybody,” Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference.

She announced a curfew will be in effect Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to respond to the situation.

WNEW news partner WJZ reports the National Guard is on the ground.

“The National Guard represents the last resort in restoring order,” Gov. Larry Hogan told a news conference. “I have not made this decision lightly.”

Hogan also said when the mayor called “quite frankly, we were glad she finally did,” insinuating it was hard to get a hold of her.

President Barack Obama pledged the federal government’s help to respond to the riots, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her first day on the job, said she would send Justice Department officials to the city in coming days.

Police sprayed mace and used tear gas to try to stop rioters, but a large group of teenagers continued to throw bricks, rocks and other items at officers.

The riots began shortly after the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. Gray’s family, however, previously urged residents not to resort to violence.

Gloria Darden, Gray’s mother, reiterated that sentiment in a news conference Monday night.

“I want y’all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this,” she said. “Don’t tear up the whole city just for him. It’s wrong.”

Rioters looted businesses for hours and set fire to police cars and other vehicles. A CVS drugstore near North Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. was also set ablaze.

Firefighters trying to put out the flames at CVS were hindered by someone who sliced holes in a hose connected to a fire hydrant, spraying water all over the street and nearby buildings.

RELATED: Massive Fire Destroys Future Senior Center Amid Riots in Baltimore

The smell of burned rubber wafted in the air in one neighborhood where youths were looting a liquor store. Police stood still nearby as people drank looted alcohol. Glass and trash littered the streets, and small fires were scattered about. One person from a church tried to shout something from a megaphone as two cars burned.

“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for, tearing down businesses, tearing down and destroying property, things that we know will impact our community for years,” said Rawlings-Blake, a lifelong resident of the city.

Gray’s family was shocked by the violence and was lying low; instead, they hoped to organize a peace march later in the week, said family attorney Billy Murphy. He said they did not know the riot was going to happen and urged calm.

“They don’t want this movement nationally to be marred by violence,” he said. “It makes no sense.”

Police urged all parents in Baltimore to locate their children and bring them home, as the riots consist of a large number of juveniles.

RELATED: Photos: Chaos in Baltimore Following Freddie Gray Funeral

While most rioters appeared to avoid Camden Yards, the Baltimore Orioles postponed its night game against the Chicago White Sox as a precaution.

The Maryland State Police has sent more than 80 of its troopers to assist Baltimore Police. Montgomery Co. police are also assisting.

One of WNEW’s reporters Steve Dorsey was injured and his phone was stolen during the protests.

The riot first started in the area of Mondawmin Mall and quickly spilled into nearby streets and neighborhoods.

People later went back to the mall and looted clothing and other items from stores, which became unprotected as police moved away from the area. About three dozen officers have returned, trying to arrest looters but driving many away by firing pellet guns and rubber bullets.

The Mondawmin, Upton and Penn North Metro stations are temporarily closed until further notice because of the riots.

Mondawmin Mall, Lexington Market, The Avenue Market and Cross Street Market closed early this afternoon in anticipation of protests.

RELATED: Massive Fire Destroys Future Senior Center Amid Riots in Baltimore

The Baltimore Police Department said earlier in the day they received a credible threat that numerous gangs entered into a partnership to “take-out” law enforcement officers.

According to the department, they received credible information that various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods and Crips have entered into the partnership.

“Law enforcement agencies should take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of their officers,” the department said in a press release.

Baltimore City Public Schools says all schools will be closed on Tuesday. The school system released this statement earlier in the day:

At this time of tension and anxiety regarding the tragic events surrounding Mr. Freddie Gray, we have a heightened responsibility to our students, families, and school communities. First, the safety of our staff and students is our top concern. We are in constant contact with the Mayor’s Office, Baltimore City Police Department, and the City Health Department, and are coordinating with them to ensure we are ready to respond to situations as they arise. We will make crisis counselors and mental health professionals available at schools throughout the city for all of our students, and they will remain as long as it is necessary. Additionally, we have redeployed senior district staff and mobile units to assist in ensuring safe passage of our students between school buildings and bus stops. We are also communicating with each one of our school leaders around effective instructional strategies to heighten student awareness and understanding of social justice issues. We are deeply concerned about our students and community, and we hope to treat this situation not only as a teachable moment but also a time for thoughtful reflection on how we can reduce conflict and violence in our society. We will continue to be vigilant in our support for all of the city’s young people.

Anne Arundel County Schools announced it is cancelling field trips and activities in Baltimore City through May 3 because of the unrest.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore closed its downtown campus at 2 p.m. after the police department’s warning. The university posted this statement to its website:

Due to reports from the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) concerning scheduled activities today beginning at 3 p.m., UMB will close today at 2 p.m. at the recommendation of the BPD. These activities may be potentially violent and UMB could be in the path of any violence. The safety of our students and employees is of paramount importance please vacate the campus as soon as possible.

T. Rowe Price in Baltimore is another business that closed early and gave this statement to WNEW:

We took this step out of an abundance of caution and to honor our commitment to the safety of our associates. Business continuity procedures have been implemented to ensure our operations continue uninterrupted. We expect that many of our associates will continue working remotely for the remainder of the day. We will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with local authorities.

RELATED: Hundreds Attend Monday’s Funeral for Freddie Gray

Continue to refresh this story for updates. Follow WJZ’s live blog here.

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(TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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