FERGUSON, Mo.—

Violence erupted in Ferguson following the grand jury’s November 24 decision. Rioting, burning, shooting, protesting, and looting ran rampant throughout the night.

“As soon as Mr. McCulloch announced the verdict, the officers started taking rocks and batteries,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

Belmar added that 29 people had been arrested. He personally heard about 150 shots fired, none of them by police.

“I didn’t foresee an evening like this,” Belmar said, adding that the damage Monday night had been worse than any on the nights in August after the shooting.

In the midst of pain and sorrow, the kindness of strangers gave hope to the owner of a small Ferguson bakery. Natalie’s Cakes and More opened last June about a block from the Ferguson Police Department. During the rioting, the bakery was nearly destroyed. Owner Natalie DuBose and her workers had been making preparations for Thanksgiving baking.

“I LOVE TO BAKE!!! It was my dream and I’m working hard to accomplish that dream,” DuBose, 32, wrote on GoFundMe. “My main windows were smashed and bakery damaged. I’m beside myself, but with the holidays, can’t stop working.”

DuBose set up an account on gofundme.com and initially asked for $20k. Actress Patricia Heaton heard of the story and asked her Twitter followers to contribute.

 

GoFundMe shows $239,076 from 7,416 donations as of Thursday evening. DuBose is grateful for the support and is now encouraging donors to contribute to other vandalized businesses; over a dozen have been set on fire and many more looted.

“Please consider helping one of my Ferguson business neighbors whose property was damaged,” DuBose added in an update. “They deserve and need support too. Happy Thanksgiving and much LOVE to ALL!!!!”

Besides writing, R. McKinley loves reading (especially historical fiction and science books), playing piano and flute, being involved in politics and community, working out, enjoying nature, and hanging out with four wonderful cats.