The 20-year-old man charged in the shooting of two St. Louis-area officers had been at the protest outside of the Ferguson Police Department earlier that night, authorities said Sunday.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams told authorities he was firing at someone with whom he was in a dispute, not at the police officers.
Williams is charged with two counts of first-degree assault, one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle and three counts of armed criminal action.
The officers were shot early Thursday as a crowd began to break up after a late-night demonstration that unfolded after Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson resigned in the wake of the scathing federal Justice Department report. It found widespread racial bias in the city’s policing and in a municipal court system driven by profit extracted from mostly black and low-income residents.
“We’re not sure we completely buy that part of it,” McCulloch said, adding that authorities are not ruling out that other people may be charged in connection with the shootings. He said the investigation is ongoing.
A 41-year-old St. Louis County officer was shot in the right shoulder, the bullet exiting through his back. A 32-year-old officer from Webster Groves was wearing a riot helmet with the face shield up. He was shot in the right cheek, just below the eye, and the bullet lodged behind his ear. The officers were released from the hospital later Thursday.
McCulloch said Williams used a 40mm handgun, which matches the shell casings at the scene.
Williams, who St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said is black, is being held on $300,000 bond.
The north St. Louis County resident was on probation in St. Louis County for receiving stolen property, McCulloch said.
“I think there was a warrant out for him on that because he had neglected to report for the last seven months to his probation officer,” he said.
Belmar said Thursday that the officers could have easily been killed and called the attack “an ambush.” Attorney General Eric Holder said the gunman was “a damn punk” who was “trying to sow discord in an area that was trying to get its act together, trying to bring together a community that had been fractured for too long.”
Obviously, McCullough or Breitbart erred in the description of the gun because a 40mm gun won’t fit in a car, and certainly not in a person’s hand. I’m pretty sure they meant .40 cal, as Fox is reporting it as such.
The next thing that sounds lame in this story is that the gunman was supposedly aiming at someone else but managed to hit two cops – a shoulder shot and a face shot. Unless his intended victim was standing next to the cops, he’s either a lousy shot or had other motives and is lying about it. Where were the protestors located in proximity to the cops?
According to Fox, St. Louis County Police Chief Belmar also said “The gunman may have fired from up to 120 yards away, a distance longer than a football field. But with a line of roughly 20 officers standing in front of the building, the shooter did not have to be particularly accurate to hit two of them.”
The shots were believed to come from a handgun across the street from the police department and the prosecutor is looking at the possibility of other people involved. It will be interesting to see where this goes and the slant Holder will put on it next.
Will the kid go from a ‘damn punk’ to a good kid with a bright future in the rap music industry who never caused his mama a moment’s trouble and was unaware the property he received was stolen? Wouldn’t be a bit surprised.
Here’s a photo that gives the proximities of the shooter, protestors and the cops.