An evening of peaceful protests devolved into another night of chaos as gunfire, tear gas and Molotov cocktails flew through Ferguson, Missouri.
At least 31 people were arrested, some of whom came from as far away as New York and California, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said.
For almost two hours, police in riot gear formed a barricade and stood watch as hundreds of peaceful protesters marched in a single-file line that stretched so long that different parts chanted different slogans.
"Hands up, don't shoot," some repeated. "No justice, no peace," others said. Still others were singing church hymns.
But the scene quickly deteriorated after a handful of protesters threw rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at police. Officers responded by firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters.
Amid the frenzy, the sounds of gunfire rang out from different parts of the city. Two people were shot within the protest site, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said.
One group of protesters made a barricade with portable toilets and orange cones. Some ripped out street signs, including the symbolic "Do Not Enter" sign.
Armored vehicles rolled down the streets with officers perched atop, their hands steadied on guns. Other officers darted into the protest crowd to make an occasional arrest before retreating.
Johnson, who was asked by Missouri's governor to try to keep order in Ferguson, said police are still trying to use a peaceful approach.
"For the most part it works," he said. "But tonight we had gunfire occur. Officers were taking shots at their vehicles."
He urged demonstrators to protest during the daylight hours Tuesday and not after dark.
"Make your voices heard where you can be seen and you're not the cover for violent agitators," he said.
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Federal investigators are checking whether 55 colleges and universities illegally handled sexual violence and harassment complaints, the U.S. Department of Education said Thursday.
Such investigations have long been known, but this is the first time that the department has released a list of all probes currently under way.
The list includes colleges and universities in 27 states and in the District of Columbia.
"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," said Catherine E. Lhamon, the department's assistant secretary for civil rights.
"We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."
Five schools promptly responded to CNN's request for response. The University of California, Berkeley said it will cooperate with the investigation and added that its chancellor had sent out a letter to campus saying sexual assault would not be tolerated.
"Much has been done to strengthen the campus' handling of these issues, but we understand that there is always room for improvement," the university statement said.
At the same time, reports of sex assault in the U.S. military are up by half, another startling annual figure around a problem the Pentagon believes is still under-reported.
But the Defense Department said the sharp year-over-year increase for fiscal 2013 largely reflected steps to encourage more people to come forward if they've been assaulted.
And Pentagon leaders acknowledged they've still got a long way to go, and have put special emphasis on getting male victims to file claims.
"The best way to combat this crime is to prevent it," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said after his department released the latest figures in a report.
We'll have the latest on both issues on "Early Start."
What do you think can be done to change this culture of sexual violence?
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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.
House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 - which opponents have nicknamed the "guns everywhere bill" - specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.
GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it "meaningful pro-gun legislation," despite it being watered down from the group's perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it "extremism in action."
Wednesday's signing came at an open-air picnic area along a creek in Ellijay, in northern Georgia. It opened with a prayer, the singing of the national anthem and a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Hundreds of people filled more than 25 picnic tables, while others stood. Many were openly carrying handguns, and some wore National Rifle Association hats and buttons proclaiming, "Stop Gun Control" and "Guns Save Lives."
See the latest on "Early Start" at 5am ET and get MORE on CNN.com.
The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter of a Seattle church that refused to fire its pack's gay scoutmaster, according to a letter written by the organization's general counsel and provided to CNN by the church.
Pack and Troop 98 is composed of about 15 boys, and according to attorney Steven McGowan's letter, they will have an opportunity to transfer to another troop.
"As you are aware the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as volunteer adult leaders," read McGowan's letter to an attorney representing Rainier Beach United Methodist Church.
The church received its charter in November and hired Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old Eagle Scout, to lead the troop. The Rev. Monica Corsaro said she knew McGrath was gay, and she wasn't trying to make any political statement by hiring him.
"We were not hiding," she said. "We are talking about real people that are being effected by a policy of discrimination ... by a policy that BSA teaches, so we are just calling it out."
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