An unidentified shooter who shot and wounded a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri Saturday night and an accomplice both remained at large Sunday morning. According to reports, the police officer encountered two people trying to break into a community center, a foot chase ensued, and one of them opened fire on the cop, hitting him in the arm. He is expected to make a full recovery.
It is not clear whether the suspects are connected to ongoing protests in Ferguson over the shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in August. However, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters early Sunday morning that they have no reason to believe the altercation was connected to the weeks-long protests.
Belmar also said that the officer was on a routine patrol when he encountered the suspects. One of them pulled a gun on the officer and shot at him when they were confronted. The officer also fired at least one shot, but the police believe the suspects were not hit. At least one of them is believed to have fled into some nearby woods.
Nothing else happened on Saturday night.
There has been disbelief among many Ferguson protesters over the details of the shooting, with some saying that they don't believe the police account. About 100 people gathered nearby during the police chief's statements to the press, chanting.
By about midnight on Saturday, there were nearly two dozen police officers near the 100 protesters who shouted "No justice, no peace" from time to time. At least one road was closed in the search for the suspects and helicopters flew overhead.
The shooting comes on the heels of a video apology issued by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Thursday in which he apologized directly to Brown's family. After the video was made public, Jackson went to personally address the crowd of protesters and answer to them for the shooting.
Brown's family told the Associated Press that after they saw the video that they still think that Jackson should be fired. The day the video was issued by a PR firm, Brown's parents were in Washington, D.C. about federal intervention into the investigation of their son's death.
The Justice Department has been looking into whether Brown's civil rights were violated when he was shot, and there is also a larger investigation into the conduct of the Ferguson police department. Ferguson's population is about 70 percent African-American, but the police department is famously lacking in diversity.
[Photo KSDK-TV screen grab]