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Ferguson, Mo. police responded to gunfire with tear gas Monday night.

Police came under “heavy gunfire” last night in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, which has been rocked by riots since a white police killed a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown. So far, National Guard troops haven’t calmed the situation.

Despite the unrest, St. Louis Community College started its new semester yesterday, including classes at the Florissant Valley campus located in Ferguson.

“The college police departments, and local authorities have worked diligently and effectively to put into place steps, procedures, and actions to ensure safety at STLCC,” Interim Chancellor Dennis Michaelise said in a statement.

The college plans small group discussions on Thursday and a town hall-style meeting next week to discuss the shooting and the aftermath.

Brown was shot and killed days before he was to start classes at Vatterott College, a for-profit career college. He’d hoped to train as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician.

Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who’s coordinating the law enforcement effort, grew up in Ferguson and earned a criminal justice degree at the Florissant Valley campus.

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Joanne Jacobs, formerly of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, is a freelance journalist who blogs at joannejacobs.com.

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