By JIM SALTER Associated Press
September 28, 2014, 3:14 AM ET
FERGUSON, Mo. – A Ferguson police officer was shot in the arm Saturday night after encountering two men at a community center who ran from him and then opened fire during a foot chase, authorities said.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a media briefing early Sunday that the officer approached the men around 9:10 p.m. because the community center was closed. As the officer approached, the men ran away. When the officer gave chase, “one of the men turned and shot,” Belmar said.
The officer was shot in the arm and is expected to survive, he said. Belmar did not identify the officer or give further details about his condition. He said the officer returned fire but said police have “no indication” that either suspect was shot.
A search was underway for the suspects early Sunday in Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb that’s been the scene of racial unrest in the wake of the August shooting death of an unarmed Black 18-year-old by a white police officer [Darren Wilson].
Belmar said he did not think the officer’s shooting was related to two separate protests about Michael Brown’s shooting that were going on Saturday night around the same time.
Around midnight at the police station, approximately two dozen officers stood near a group of about 100 protesters who mingled on a street corner, occasionally shouting, “No justice; no peace.”
Nearby, part of a road was closed in town as police conducted a search for the suspects. Numerous law enforcement agencies were responding, and police helicopters were canvassing the area.
The officer’s shooting comes after Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson issued a videotaped apology to Brown’s family earlier in the week and attempted to march with protesters, an effort that led to a clash with activists and several arrests on Thursday.
Brown’s parents told The Associated Press on Saturday they were unmoved by the apology.
Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said, “yes,” when asked if Jackson should be fired, and his father, Michael Brown Sr., said rather than an apology, they would like to see the officer who shot their son arrested.
A county grand jury is weighing whether to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s shooting.
The Justice Department, which is investigating whether Brown’s civil rights were violated, is conducting a broader probe into Ferguson police. On Friday, it urged Jackson to ban his officers from wearing bracelets supporting Wilson while on duty and from covering up their name plates with black tape.
Ferguson residents complained about the bracelets, which are black with “I am Darren Wilson” in white lettering, at a meeting with federal officials this week.
Brown’s shooting has also focused attention on the lack of diversity in many police departments across the country. In Ferguson, of 53 officers in a community that is two-thirds black, only three are African-American.
Schron Jackson said the officer, who has nearly 20 years of experience, was being treated at a hospital for a minor injury to his arm from broken glass. She said there is no reason to believe the two shootings were related.
Excerpt from International Business Times:
The suspect in the shooting is still at large, according to a report from CNN, citing emergency agency sources. KDSK St. Louis reports that a manhunt is underway for the suspect in the shooting. The suspect is described as a black male, 5’11”, with dreadlocks and wearing dark clothing.
KMOV-TV, St. Louis, reported a police staging area was set up around the area of West Florissant and Stein, not far from where Mike Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson Aug. 9. The area has been the focal point of ongoing protests and tension between police and the largely African-American community. Reports an officer had been shot quickly had police rushing to the area, according to a wave of social media activity from residents in the area.
Police Captain Ron Johnson visited the scene of a protest in Ferguson, the intersection of Stein and W Florissant streets, which is nearby where teenager Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson. According to reports on social media, he told the crowd that “a police officer was shot, no-one else.” Alderman Antonio French tweeted that Johnson told protesters to leave the scene, and that would be their only warning. A live stream recorded by people on the scene shows protesters chanting and engaged in heated discussions with officers.
French later added that there was a major police presence, with heavily armed officers at the scene.
Tweets by and to City of St. Louis Alderman Antonio French:
Antonio FrenchVerified account
Johnson arrived. He told the crowd no one other than the officer was shot. Then told them to leave, saying that would be their only warning.
@AntonioFrench Now its a “manhunt”, but we know who killed MB he’s still free.
@AntonioFrench they should stick Darren Wilson’s ass in jail for life first.
@AntonioFrench Why is Wilson free getting paid taxpayer money. It’s no fun when the rabbit has the gun#RipMikeBrown#Wearenotprey