Police: More than 170 St. Paul businesses damaged or looted during riots

St. Paul police say riots throughout the day have resulted in reports of damage or looting at more than 170 businesses in the city.

In a tweet late Thursday night, the department says their officers are continuing to work with local, state, and federal agencies along with fire departments to handle the violence that erupted during the day.

"Thankfully, no reports of serious injuries," officers wrote. "Calm on the horizon."

During the day, the areas around University Avenue near Snelling were hit by looters, vandals, and rioters with the department reporting that rocks, bricks and bottles being thrown at officers and squad cars. 

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter asked his constituents to stay home amid the escalating tension. 

The looting started when a group of 50-60 people tried to overrun a Target store in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul before groups started moving east on University Avenue. St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said officers arrived at the Target around 11:30 a.m. People dropped the goods they had in hand and ran away.

Soon after, another group of people tried to ransack a Foot Locker store on University Avenue across the street. Police again intervened, resulting in a standoff between officers and the rioters. 

Looting and protesting were reported in other areas on University Avenue. A fire was reported at a TJ Maxx location on the 1400 block of University Avenue Thursday afternoon. Another was reported at a Napa Auto Parts at 1271 University Avenue. 

At the State Capitol, Senators and staff were told to leave the Capitol complex in the "interest of public safety" for fear that protesters were heading that way. 

Friday, St. Paul Public Schools also cancelled its meal deliveries and pick-up services along with essential child care services due to safety threats. A district spokesperson said the cancellation was made out of an abundance of caution to protect workers and families.