Two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department headquarters early Thursday morning, local authorities have confirmed. Both officers are in what was described as “serious condition,” though their injuries were reported as “not life-threatening.”
The shootings took place just after midnight as a protest outside the station—described later by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar as “otherwise uneventful”—began to wind down. People had gathered at the station in response to news on Wednesday that several high-ranking city officials, including Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and City Manager John Shaw, had submitted their resignations in response to a damning Justice Department report on a pattern of racial bias in the St. Louis suburb.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was with his department and the other was with the Webster Groves department. Both were being treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where Belmar spoke, and were in serious condition.
The chief said at least three shots were fired. He described the injuries of both men as “very serious gunshot injuries.”
The Webster Groves officer was shot in the face. He is 32 and has been on the force seven years.
The county officer was hit in the shoulder. That officer is 41 and has been on the force for 14 years.
Belmar said no suspects have been identified in the shootings.
The city of Ferguson has been at the center of a national debate surrounding race and police violence since the community reacted with protest following the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August of last year. Wednesday night’s protest at the station reportedly numbered about 60-70 people.
Marciay Pitchford, 20, was among the protesters outside the police department. She described to the Associated Press how the protest had been mostly peaceful until she heard the shots ring out shortly after midnight.
“I saw the officer go down and the other police officers drew their guns while other officers dragged the injured officer away,” Pitchford told AP. “All of a sudden everybody started running or dropping to the ground.”
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