Teams of police roved black sections of Miami, arresting 250 suspected arsonists and looters in the second day of racial violence that spread from one neighborhood to another and continued until dawn Wednesday.
Gunfire killed one man and hit eight others Tuesday - just five days before the city plays host to Super Bowl XXIII. Police, paramedics and firefighters were fired upon.Police hoped the arrests would take some of the troublemakers off the streets and allow police to regain control of black neighborhoods Wednesday.
"I think that once we started making arrests, that had a tremendous effect on the violence, and it pretty much solved most of our problems," police spokesman David Rivero said.
Violence began for the second straight day in Overtown, and some rock throwing was reported in Coconut Grove a few miles to the south. But while calm was restored in Coconut Grove, rock and bottle throwing and arson continued in Overtown and spread to Liberty City a few miles north and continued there until early Wednesday morning, said Miami police spokesman George Law. Both areas are mostly black.
At dawn, at least two fires were burning, one in a furniture store and one in a storefront housing a church, senior citizen center and a paint store. Police said the stores were looted and then set afire but burned themselves out shortly after it became light.
Police said by daybreak there were no incidents of looting or sniping as the city quieted down.
"For the sake of our city, I appeal to every citizen, regardless of race, to stay calm, get off the streets and stay in your homes," Mayor Xavier Suarez said in a televised appeal Tuesday night.
He promised to appoint an independent review panel Wednesday to investigate Monday's police shooting that prompted the rioting.
The new disturbances came as a second black man died Tuesday as a result of the shooting. He was injured in a motorcycle accident caused after a white police officer fatally shot a black motorcyclist.
The Justice Department began a civil rights investigation into the incident.
Some residents said Tuesday that looters were not responding directly to the motorcylist's death and instead seized the opportunity to steal goods. Many black merchants stood by their buildings, hoping to deter looters.
"(The looters) just want to steal. They were just waiting for a chance," said Lorene Fleming, the manager of a lounge in Liberty City.
"People are using this opportunity because of the shooting last night to steal from people making an honest living," agreed black community leader Georgia Ayers. "If I were in charge, I'd bring in the National Guard because the police are outnumbered right now, and I'd clear the streets."
Rivero said he thought police could better handle the situation.
"With our arrest powers - ours are extensive, theirs are limited - it's appropriate that we be in there," Rivero said.
The fourth outbreak of rioting in Miami since 1980 began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and came in the midst of Super Bowl week when the city hoped to polish its national image.
The mayor said National Football League representatives had met with Gov. Bob Martinez to discuss security for Sunday's Super Bowl XXIII in Joe Robbie Stadium, 15 miles from Overtown, but that he knew of no plans to call in the National Guard to help keep peace.
The National Basketball Association game between the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns was canceled Tuesday night because of rock and bottle throwing near the Miami Arena in Overtown.
The Liberty Square Community Center in Liberty City was set afire about midnight Tuesday and destroyed. It was declared under control about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, but firefighters were delayed because they were fired upon, said fire Capt. Jim Tolbert.
He said other fire calls in the area went unanswered because of gunfire. "We made several attempts to go in, but we were turned away by gunfire."
Police said a black man died in Liberty City after being shot once in the head shortly after 10 p.m. Metro-Dade County Police Detective Myriam Royle could not determine if it was connected to the racial violence.
Seven people were wounded Tuesday by scattered gunfire in Overtown and Liberty City. Officer Eric Butler was shot once in Liberty City but was saved by his bullet-proof vest and was not injured. His assailant was arrested, police said.