What started as a relatively calm protest outside the Ferguson Police Department on Wednesday evening unraveled shortly after midnight when gunshots were fired, hitting two police officers.
At a predawn press conference, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the two officers had been taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital with non-life-threatening but “very serious gunshot injuries.”
One of the officers, a 41-year-old who has been with the St. Louis County Police for 14 years, was shot in the shoulder. The other, 32 and a Webster Groves police officer of seven years, was hit in the face. The suspects have not yet been identified.
About 70 protesters had gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department on Wednesday evening hours after Police Chief Tom Jackson announced he’d be stepping down. It was the second major resignation in two days — Ferguson City Manager John Shaw resigned a day earlier — following a scathing Department of Justice report detailing systemic law enforcement abuses against Ferguson’s African-American residents.
In a very shaky video of the shooting caught by one of the protesters, a person can be heard yelling, “Acknowledgment nine months ago would’ve kept that from happening.”
Freelancer Bradley Rayford was covering the protest when the shots went off.
“As we were about to pack our cameras up, we hear what we thought were fireworks up the street,” Rayford told ABC News. “Turns out, happened three more times. It was gunfire because we saw the muzzle fire from the gun up top of the street.”
“It was kind of traumatic,” he said. “I’m still kind of in shock because of it.”
Although many protesters and reporters dispersed from the scene following the shooting, a few were able to capture some images and video of the ensuing chaos.