A retired St Louis police captain was shot dead by looters when he went to check on a friend’s pawn shop.

David Dorn, 77, was found dead on the sidewalk outside Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry in the early hours of Tuesday morning amid violent unrest following peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Mr Dorn’s killing came on a violent night in the city during which four police officers were shot, others were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and dozens of businesses were pilfered or vandalised.

Others across the US have been engulfed in protests and riots for the past week following the death of Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes despite him being handcuffed and pleading that he could not breathe.

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Police have not released details of what led to the shooting of Mr Dorn and no arrests have been made.

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He was friends with the pawn shop’s owner and his wife, Ann Marie Dorn, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that he regularly checked on the business when the alarms went off

The retired captain served 38 years on the St Louis police force before retiring in October 2007. He then became chief of Moline Acres, a small town in St Louis County.

The Ethical Society of Police, which represents black officers in St Louis, said in a news release that Dorn was ‘the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to’.

President Donald Trump tweeted a tribute on Tuesday, saying: ‘Our highest respect to the family of David Dorn, a Great Police Captain from St. Louis, who was viciously shot and killed by despicable looters last night. We honor our police officers, perhaps more than ever before. Thank you!’

St Louis police Chief John Hayden called Dorn a ‘fine captain’, adding: ‘Many of us, the other officers, looked up to him.’

Former St Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch knew Dorn for 30 years and said they became close friends when Mr Dorn and his wife were leading the police department’s Explorers program for young people interested in law enforcement careers, while Mr Fitch was leading the county’s program.

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He said of Mr Dorn: ‘He was very dedicated to youth, especially disadvantaged youth He wanted to see them succeed. He wanted to be a role model for those young men and women to go into law enforcement.’

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