A person wanted in connection of the shootings of two Ferguson, Missouri police officers has been arrested, St. Louis County police department announced today on Twitter. 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, firing a weapon from a vehicle and three counts of armed criminal action, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch and St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar said at a Sunday press conference.
McCulloch said that while Williams acknowledged that he fired the shots, “It is possible that he was firing at someone other than the police.” The suspect was allegedly involved in a fight in the area of the protests prior to the shooting and returned to the scene with a gun later in the night. “There is a lot of video out there and I hope there is a lot more than can be provided to investigators,” McCulloch added.
According to CNN, a search warrant of Williams’ home near Ferguson turned up a .40-caliber handgun “which has been tied to the shell casings that were recovered” at the scene of the shooting. Williams was on probation for receiving stolen property at the time of the shooting. He is being held on $300,000 cash-only bail.
Four shots were fired at the Ferguson police station just after midnight Thursday during protests sparked by the resignation of the city’s police chief Thomas Jackson. Two officers sustained critical but non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting; one officer was shot in the cheek just under his right eye, while the other was hit in the shoulder that passed through the shoulder.
The shooting was just the latest incident between law enforcement and the protestors in Ferguson since the death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in August 2014. After the two officers were shot, Brown’s family issued a statement condemning the “senseless” shooting, saying, “We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot and will not be tolerated.”
“We specifically denounce the actions of stand-alone agitators who unsuccessfully attempt to derail the otherwise peaceful and non-violent movement that has emerged throughout this nation to confront police brutality and to forward the cause of equality under the law for all,” the family added.
Jackson’s resignation came just days after a Department of Justice investigation into the police force and judicial system in Ferguson uncovered a structure that was “systematically biased” towards African-Americans. With Jackson at the helm, the Ferguson Police Department implemented an “emphasis on ticket writing” that exacerbated a rift between law enforcement and its citizens.
Ferguson municipal judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer and city manager John Shaw also resigned from their posts, while court clerk Mary Ann Twitty was fired from her position. Two Ferguson police officers – Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd – were also forced to resign after the Justice Department report alleged they had sent racist emails to each other.