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Shop windows smashed, fires reported as Anaheim protest turns violent

Protests in Anaheim, Calif., turned violent in the wake of two controversial shootings involving local police. And as KNBC's Angie Crouch reports, at least several arrests were made.

ANAHEIM, California -- Protesters broke the windows of least a half-dozen storefronts in Anaheim on Tuesday resulting in 24 people being arrested and leaving six injured in the second major clash between police and demonstrators since an officer shot dead an apparently unarmed man.

Mayor Tom Tait had called on Monday for a state and federal review of the shooting of the man, a suspected gang member. 


More than 600 demonstrators gathered at City Hall on Tuesday, where officials were holding a regular meeting, police said. 

NBCLosAngeles.com reported that crowds converged on the building at around 4 p.m. (7 p.m. ET) to urge council members to investigate a series of recent officer-involved shootings and reform the city's police force, which residents have accused of racial profiling.

Officials say there have been eight officer-involved shootings in the city this year.

The council chamber reached capacity and police in riot gear blocked access to the meeting, according to NBCLosAngeles.com.

Some protesters threw patio chairs through the windows of a Starbucks, a witness told Reuters. No one in the coffee shop was injured, said Anaheim police spokesman Sergeant Bob Dunn. 

In the same block-long strip mall, at least five other businesses also had windows smashed, a witness said.

Afterward, officers toting shotguns stood guard in front of the storefronts. 

"We are happy to hear from any and all residents," Tate said. "But we will not accept any violent protests, vandalism or arson perpetrated under the guise of public protest."

Dozens of officers wielding night sticks faced off against the demonstrators, who at one point threw water bottles and rocks toward the line. 

More photos: Protests in Anaheim

At least one person was transported to the hospital after being shot in the head with a pepperball, Dunn told NBCLosAngeles.com. No officers were injured.

He said the demonstrations lasted until about 2 a.m., hours after residents gathered outside the city counsel meeting.

Police fire pepper spray balls at demonstrators who pelted officers with rocks and bottles during a protest in Anaheim, California. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

Aerial footage showed several fires near the scene of the protest -- one in a trash bin, another near a bus bench.

The tensions flared after police shot and killed a man on Saturday afternoon. 

Two officers had tried to approach three men in an alley who fled, Dunn said earlier this week. The officers followed on foot and one caught up to one suspect, police said. 

The officer shot the man, who police said they later identified as Manuel Diaz, a known gang member. Diaz was not found to have been carrying a gun, police said. 

The Diaz family filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit against the city on Tuesday.

'Transparency is essential'
Police fired pepper pellets at angry residents near the scene of the shooting on Saturday. 

Late on Sunday Anaheim officers tried to stop a car and killed a man who police said fled and opened fire on them during a foot chase. 

Alex Gallardo / Reuters

A protester is arrested during a demonstration in Anaheim, Calif., on Tuesday.

He was the fifth person to die in an officer-involved shooting in Anaheim this year.

Tait called for a state and federal probe of the fatal shootings during a news conference Sunday, during which some 70 protesters stormed the lobby.

"Transparency is essential," Tait said Sunday. "The investigation will seek the truth. And whatever the truth is, we will own it."

At least four agencies are involved in or are expected to join the investigation, including the U.S. Attorney's office, the State Attorney General, the Anaheim Police Department's Officer of Internal Affairs and -- as is usual for officer-involved shootings -- the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Anaheim was among six California cities with a population over 100,000 that saw the biggest spikes in violent crime in 2011, according to an analysis of FBI crime data released last month.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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