Los Angeles - A US city mayor called for calm on Thursday after police shot and injured two African American men allegedly being chased for shoplifting.
The two suspects allegedly assaulted employees after trying to steal beer at a Safeway supermarket in the early hours in Olympia, the capital of north-western Washington state.
They were unarmed but one used a skateboard to attack an officer, who then opened fire, said a spokesperson. One of the suspects was in a critical condition in hospital and the other stable, according to media reports.
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Stephen Buxbaum, mayor of Olympia, said authorities were reaching out to the local community after the overnight shootings.
"Let's not be reactive. Let's take the path of consciously addressing our questions of what happened as best we can, seek justice and healing," Buxbaum told a news conference.
The killing of black men by white police officers has become a major issue in the United States since the August 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri ignited sometimes violent protests nationwide.