“People are already attributing the Ferguson shooting to “gangbanger thugs.” 70 yards. At night. Elevated position. Three shots. Two seconds. All hit. No real witnesses reported. I’m giving 10:1 in favor of prior service.” – Former special forces serviceman
Update at 12:00 p.m. ET: Police Hunting Down Shooter
Officers swarmed a home in Ferguson Thursday morning in a search for those responsible for the shooting of two police officers outside the Ferguson police department about midnight.
Tactical officers surrounded a brick bungalow on Dade Avenue near Tiffin Avenue. The home is about four blocks west of the police department. Officers went in with dogs about 9:30 a.m. A neighbor said he saw police bring two people out of the home and heard talk of a third hiding in the attic.
Around 10 a.m., officers were on the roof and appeared to be trying to break into the attic from the roof.
Bruce Patterson, who lives across the street from the home being searched, said his immediate reaction when he saw police descend on the home: “Panic.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “All along I’ve thought, they’re protesting four blocks away at the police station, keep it away. And guess what? It’s here.”
He said he knows the woman brought out of the house in handcuffs. She rents the home and has a six-year-old boy who visits Patterson to play with his grandchildren often. The woman being arrested asked Patterson to care for the boy until his grandmother could come pick him up.
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: Injury Updates, And More Details
The two police officers who were shot had been standing in a line of more than a dozen officers, Belmar said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Belmar said the Webster Groves officer was shot just below his right eye, and that the bullet is now lodged in the back of his head. The St. Louis County officer was struck in the shoulder, and the bullet passed through and exited his back.
Despite the serious nature of the injuries, Belmar said, the officers aren’t expected to have any “remarkable long-term injuries.” He said he had spoken with both of the officers.
“I think it’s a miracle that we haven’t had any instances similar to this” before now, Belmar said, noting other occurrences of gunfire at protests in Ferguson.
“When you look at the tenor of at least some of the people” involved in protests, he said, it is difficult for officers to discern who might pose a threat.
The St. Louis County police chief added that when shots were fired last night, the officers saw muzzle flashes later estimated to be about 125 yards away. He said the officers drew their weapons but did not discharge them.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we were very close to what happened in New York,” Belmar said, referring to the recent fatal shooting of two officers there.
“This is really an ambush, is what it is,” he said later.
The chief said no suspects have been identified in the shootings but that detectives recovered shell casings near the scene. He said it was not clear if those shell casings were from the shooting. He said some witnesses have been “forthright” in helping police with the investigation.
Belmar said he had been surprised by the amount of “agitation” at the protest.
At one point, he acknowledged that there was “an unfortunate association” between whoever fired the shots and the protesters who were there for what he called “the right reasons.”
Belmar also said he hasn’t confirmed reports that rocks or bottles had been thrown at the officers during Wednesday night’s protest. He repeatedly said it is “very difficult” for officers to identify potential threats in such situations.
Two police officers were seriously injured in a shooting early Thursday outside the Ferguson, Mo., police department amid new protests following the resignation of the town’s embattled police chief. The shooting comes after revelations of racism among members of Ferguson PD and targeted revenue generation aimed at the most poor and vulnerable citizens in Ferguson.
A 32-year-old officer from suburban Webster Groves was shot in the face and a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. Both were taken to a local hospital, where Belmar said they were conscious. He said he did not have further details about their conditions but described their injuries as “very serious,” but not life-threatening.
The chief is the sixth Ferguson employee to go since a scathing federal Department of Justice report last week accused the city of racist police and court practices it said were focused on generating revenue, not justice.
Protesters on site recorded video of the shooting and claimed that they saw muzzle flashes on the hill behind them (across the street from the Police station). The video below described what took place.
The shooting took place after protesters had come together near the police station after Jackson’s resignation was announced earlier. Some arrests were made and officers, some in riot gear, had blocked off the street on both sides of the protesters, according to Twitter posts by community organizers at the scene. Some protesters claimed that the police made it impossible for them to leave the area. The protest up to that point was relatively peaceful, but the sound of gunfire just after midnight sent protesters and police officers running for cover.
Police dressed in riot gear dragged the injured officers to safety, The New York Times reported. Protesters said on Twitter that the shots did not come from the group of about 100 gathered in the police department’s parking lot, but from behind them. Witnesses said the shots seemed to come from the parking lot of Andy Wurm Tire & Wheels, located on South Florissant Road, across the street from the police headquarters. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a press conference that the shots appeared to be targeted at the officers, and that the shooter, or shooters, may have “embedded” in the protesters. The former Ferguson police chief reportedly stated, “This is what they wanted to happen.” It is unclear who he was referring to. Additional footage from the local Fox affiliate describes what happened below.