FERGUSON, Mo. — A friend who was walking beside black teenager Michael Brown when he was killed by a white police officer says the unarmed 18-year-old victim was shot "like an animal."
Dorian Johnson recalled Brown turning and putting his hands in the air before he was shot in the head and chest.
The shooting has angered the predominantly African-American community and sparked three nights of protests. Tensions were increased early Wednesday when police shot and wounded an armed man not far from the site of a community protest meeting.
"Race relations is a top priority right now," says Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. He says the police are working with the Justice Department's community relations experts to help address the racial discord that has erupted into three nights of protests — one of which ended with tear gas.
On previous nights, crowds have gathered to protest Brown's death, sometimes looting stores, setting fire to buildings and vandalizing property. They also taunted police and assaulted journalists. More than three dozen people have been arrested. Brown's family and civil-rights groups have pleaded for the community to stay calm.
Jackson said that protesters Monday night threw rocks at police and that gunfire came from the crowd, so officers used tear gas and shot "beanbag rounds," meant to stun them. A Missouri state senator was among those gassed.
"I just wanted to know if I was going to be gassed again like I was on Monday night," Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said to Jackson at a press conference. "I was peaceful and I am your state senator."
Police in Ferguson are asking that protesters stop when the sun goes down, a request met with criticism on social media.
Demonstrators are demanding that the Ferguson Police Department identify the name of the officer who shot Brown.
Police, who had promised to make the officer's name public on Tuesday, cited threats against the officer on social media for the delay.
"An officer's name was released as being the one involved in the shooting. He was not the one involved in the shooting, however there were threats against his life," Jackson says. "Out of an abundance of caution, we weighed the value of releasing the name right now against the safety factor to both him, his family and his neighborhood."
Authorities have said the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Johnson, Brown's friend and witness to the shooting, was summoned by police and FBI on Wednesday to give his account. He said has moved from his apartment with his girlfriend and young daughter because he fears retaliation from police.
"I left because I feared that if I stayed, something would happen to me. I felt like if they would have gotten me, they would have done anything possible to make sure I couldn't come forth and give my side of what happened," Johnson told KSDK.
Johnson said the incident started around 1:40 p.m. Saturday when the officer pulled up beside the pair as they were walking down the street near his grandmother's house.
"He didn't say freeze, halt or anything like we were committing a crime," Johnson told KSDK. "He said, 'Get the 'F' on the sidewalk.'"
He said the officer, whose name has not been released, shoved open the car door, grabbed Brown around the neck and tried to pull him through the window. He said Brown never tried to reach for the officer's weapon.
"The second time he says, 'I'll shoot.' A second later the gun went off and he let go," Johnson said. "That's how we were able to run at the same time."
Johnson said he ducked behind a car as the officer continued shooting at them, hitting Brown in the back.
"His (Brown's) hands immediately went into the air and he turned around to the officer," Johnson recalled. "My friend started to tell the officer that he was unarmed and that he could stop shooting (him). Before he could get his second sentence out, the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area. He fell dramatically into the fatal position. I did not hear once he yell freeze, stop or halt. it was just horrible to watch."
Johnson, who began to sob during the interview, said he could tell Brown was in pain: "It hurt him a lot. Could see it in his eyes. It was definitely like being shot like an animal.
"I definitely think (the officer) is guilty of murder," Johnson said.
Police have said that a scuffle broke out after the officer asked the teens to move. Police have not confirmed witness accounts that Brown had raised his hands to surrender when the shots were fired.
A second witness, who will be interviewed by the FBI, told the St. Louis NAACP that Brown did not struggle with the officer inside his patrol car.
The protests triggered by the shooting have rocked the city, prompting police to fire tear gas during some of the street confrontations.
At one church gathering Tuesday with dozens of clergy members and elected officials, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon urged calm "in the face of crisis."
"We stand together tonight, reeling from what feels like an old wound torn open afresh," Nixon said. "A wound that hadn't quite healed right in the first place, and now the pain is just as searing as when the injury first occurred."
Tensions over the shooting were further heightened Tuesday after authorities backed down on an earlier promise to release the name of the police officer who killed the unarmed Brown. All but three of the police department's 53 officers are white.
The National Bar Association, whose membership is predominantly African-American, filed a records request Wednesday morning demanding the name, gender, rank, race, age and seniority of the officer who shot Brown.
The organization also asked for information about the past conduct of the officer and any information about his or her alleged use of force against any suspects while with the Ferguson Police Department.
"We believe, for the sake of transparency and for the sake of bringing calmness to the community, it is imperative that they release the name," said the association's president, Pamela Meanes. "I think a lot of the frustration and a lot of the disruption is because people don't trust the process."
Meanes said releasing the name of the officer who killed Brown would help reassure people that the investigation into Brown's death will be fair and independent.
The group is also asking for other information. The requested records include any incident reports, investigative reports, notes and memorandums prepared by officers, in-dash camera video, photographs, cellphone video and recordings, and the names and seniority of the officer or officers involved in the Aug. 9 shooting
Meanes said if the officer's name isn't disclosed by Monday, her group would ask a county judge to order police to release it.
Contributing: Brandie Piper, KSDK; Natalie DiBlasio and Michelle Washington, McLean, Va.; the Associated Press