While the interim police chief in Ferguson, Missouri, talked about the need for patience during the protests Sunday night on the year anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.'s death, shots rang out.
Andre Anderson, speaking with CNN about how his officers were treating protesters, was interrupted by gunfire.
"We're explaining to them their rights and we just want to be as patient as possible," he said.
Moments later three shots followed by a fourth followed by a flurry diverted the attention of both the chief and cameraman.
People in the crowd began shouting "cover!"
Watch the moment in a video posted by CNN's Sara Snider to Twitter:
A suspect opened fire on police in an unmarked vehicle after 11 p.m. Sunday and those officers returned fire. The man, identified by his father to the local news as Tyrone Harris Jr., was hit in the exchange and rushed to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition after surgery.
Watch KTVI-TV's report:
St. Louis County Chief Jon Belmar, who did not identify the suspect at the time, said at a news conference that officers had been tracking the man, who they believed was armed, during a protest marking the death of Brown, the black, unarmed 18-year-old whose killing by a white Ferguson police officer touched off a national "Black Lives Matter" movement.
The man approached the officers, who were in an unmarked police van, and opened fire, Belmar said. The officers returned fire from inside the vehicle and then pursued the man on foot when he ran.
The man again fired on the officers, the chief said, and all four officers fired back. He was struck and fell.
The man was taken to a hospital, where Belmar said he was in "critical, unstable" condition. The four officers involved were uninjured and placed on standard administrative leave.
Belmar: "If you have any info, let us know. We can't talk about good things if we're prevented from moving toward w/this type of violence."— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 10, 2015
It's troubling that people can't exercise their rights b/c violent people want to disrupt peaceful protests. pic.twitter.com/XXYejUNCvt— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 10, 2015
Watch Belmar's comments during the middle of the night press conference:
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated for clarity.