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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 18th, 2014
08:21 PM ET

Peaceful protests by day, mayhem at night in Ferguson

(CNN) – Since unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed nine days ago there have been far too many scenes of looting in Ferguson.

Images shot Sunday night on closed-circuit TV at a local store show a crowd with no apparent compunction or remorse looting and stealing.

"When they couldn't break it, then (they) started shooting," Mumtaz Lalani, owner of Dellwood Market, who watched the feed from home.

Muzzle flashes can be seen on the tape, as shots are fired into the store front. Then looters ransacked the liquor and cigarette cabinets. Later two women attempt to set the store on fire.

Lalani says he cannot recover. He and his 33-year-old son Jan are sad, and angry, and confused.

"It doesn't make any sense any more," son Jan Lalani said.

"The thing is they say they say they want justice for Mike Brown. I mean, is this justice?" Mumtaz Lalani said, gesturing to the footage of the looting. "I don't understand, what justice is this?"

For store owners in Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding area, midnight curfews and a strong police presence do little to protect them.

So much of the focus of this scene is on what happened to Michael Brown, and on the militaristic reaction of police against protesters. But these store owners have a story to tell as well.

Store owner Ibrahim and his family left Kuwait as refugees during the first Gulf War. They have been happy to make Ferguson their home. They even knew Brown, and liked him.

Ibrahim, who asked that CNN not use his last name, estimates he has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of looting and damage.

"This is not how you're supposed to help a grieving family, you know," he said.

Looters and criminals have hijacked the protests at times, and now the livelihoods of the store owners who provide important services to Ferguson are threatened.

"I don't want mix up the looters with the protesters," Ibrahim said. "All week long, you know, the protests have been out here peaceful."

He warns the media shouldn't mischaracterize Ferguson either.

"We got people coming by wanting to buy something, just to help out you know? And I am so thankful for these people. These are my heroes," he said.

So many of the stores along the main drag along West Florisant Avenue are boarded up like they're waiting for a hurricane, or one just passed. Only this time the disaster is man-made. Across the street is Ferguson Market & Liquor, which was looted over the weekend. Coincidentally or not, it was the same place where Michael Brown is said to have stolen $50 worth of cigars just moments before he was killed.

Despite scenes of looters rushing stores, carrying boxes of goods to waiting cars, or wig store mannequins left bald by thieves, it is important to note that these are only the actions of a few.

"I want the attention to go to the people outside, sweeping the streets every morning. Neighbors coming out of their homes ... just to clean up their community. You know everybody coming from all over Missouri just to help out," said Ibrahim.

But for now, the threat of violence erupting again has left many businesses boarded up and waiting for peace.

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