CLAYTON, Mo. – Authorities said Sunday they’ve made an arrest in the shooting of two officers outside the Ferguson Police Department.
Details about the arrest will be discussed at a 1:30 p.m. Sunday news conference, St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brain Schellman said in a news release. St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar will attend.
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, which 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.
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 quickly released from the hospital Thursday. But Belmar said Thursday they could have easily been killed and called the attack “an ambush.”
“What happened last night was a pure ambush,” Attroney General Eric Holder said Thursday. “This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson, this was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord.”
The shots were believed to come from a handgun across the street from the police department, which has been a national focal point since the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, by now-former police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was cleared by the Justice Department’s report and by a county grand jury led by McCulloch.
Six Ferguson officials, including Jackson, have resigned or been fired since the federal report was released March 4.