ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud Police Chief held a news conference Monday morning to debunk rumors that began on social media overnight.

Chief Blair Anderson says after an officer was shot in the hand just after midnight by an 18-year-old suspect misinformation began to spread on Facebook. That caused a group of about 100 people to start protesting around the police station in downtown St. Cloud.

Anderson says police did use tear gas to disperse the crowd but the police station, as well as other surrounding property, did sustain damage mostly from people throwing rocks.

Anderson says four people were arrested during the protest. He says social media is a dangerous weapon right now.

Things can get blasted all over creation right now and it is very reckless in my opinion and it's very dangerous, and this is the kind of thing that could have escalated, and I am deeply concerned about that kind of stuff.

Anderson says the protest overnight escalated quickly.

This place could have been on fire over a lie.  Not just some misinformation, not just a few facts here and there, it was flat out untrue.

Anderson says the incident that led to the protests started when they received a report of a man with a gun. He is described as an 18-year-old black man. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to St. Cloud Hospital.

Officers did recover two guns at the scene.

The officer who was shot has not been named but is a 14-year veteran of the department. St. Cloud Police Department does not have body cameras, it is not known yet if dash cameras caught any of the incident.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is leading the investigation.

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