Ferguson, MO -- Two police officers are in the hospital with serious injuries after being shot early Thursday morning during a protest outside of the Ferguson Police Department Headquarters.
The officers, who were standing guard along with several other cops, were shot at from a distance. One was shot in the face, the other in the shoulder. Both remain hospitalized, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said their wounds were "very serious." The officers are expected to survive, local TV station KMOV reported.
The shooting was captured on film, from a live streamer, @matthewkeyslive.
No arrests were immediately made and police said a suspect had not been identified.
According to the NY Daily News,
The protest began Wednesday night, after Chief Thomas Jackson resigned from the St. Louis suburb’s embattled police department, part of a wave of resignations following the Justice Department's investigation of the fatal police-involved shooting of Michael Brown last summer. There were roughly 70 protesters gathered outside of the police headquarters, located on South Florissant Rd., and the demonstration in its initial stages was non-violent, though there were reportedly some arrests. The crowd enaged in a series of chants, including the rallying cry of "Black Lives Matter," and called for further changes to the police force.
Shortly after midnight, as the protests began to dwindle, gunfire rang out. The video, which was immediately uploaded to youtube shows protesters screaming in horror as the shots are fired. Everyone in the area immediately dropped for cover.
The police officers can be seen mobilizing into tactical positions as they try to determine the direction of the gunfire.
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Witnesses said the shots appeared to come from the direction of a block of homes on Tiffin Avenue that intersects South Florissant Road, where the police department is located. Chief Belmar said that the shots were fired from across the street and the officers were the intended target.
"I've said many times we cannot sustain this without problems, and that's not a reflection of those expressing their first amendment rights," Belmar said. "But this is a very dangerous environment for our officers to work in."
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called the shootings "a criminal act that jeopardized the lives of police officers and protesters both. I hope the officers have a full recovery and pray for them and their families. It's time for healing and reform, and acts of violence have no place in this process."
This shooting is certainly a tragedy and was likely carried out by a very disturbed individual. However, we can rest assured that it will be used to paint those who protest for police accountability in a negative light.
This type of violence against police does nothing to further the cause of peace. In fact, it will only make the situation far worse than it already is.
The names of the wounded officers were not released and they were taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where they are being treated for serious injuries, spokesperson Jennifer Arvin told the Daily News.