Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri just after midnight on Thursday during what was a mostly peaceful protest following the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who stepped down after receiving a scathing federal Department of Justice report calling his department “racist.”
A 32-year-old officer from nearby Webster Groves was shot in the face, just below his right eye, with the bullet lodging behind his ear, and a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, and the bullet came out his back. Both were unconscious when immediately taken to a hospital with serious injuries. While both officers were in serious condition before arriving at the hospital, they were released from the hospital this morning after sustaining non-threatening injuries.
Before the shooting, some at the protest were chanting to show they weren’t satisfied with the resignations of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and City Manager John Shaw earlier in the week, according to NY Post.
NBC producer Jennifer Roller described the “frightening moment.” “It sounded like firecrackers, that’s what we thought at first, but when everybody hit the floor and the police said, ‘Get down, get down,’ and guns were drawn, we all hit the floor.”
The shooter, who apparently was not in the protest and fired from a rooftop, has not been arrested yet, but police are on an intense manhunt and may have found him but have not confirmed.
*Warning: Video below contains explicit language.
The protest was a familiar scene in Ferguson, which saw similar and much larger demonstrations after the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown last summer by city police officer Darren Wilson. When Wilson, who is white, was cleared in November by a state grand jury, the decision set off further protests, looting and fires. However, this was the first time an officer at a protest had been shot.