The civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri just got a lot worse. Two police officers were nearly killed early Thursday morning when a seemingly peaceful protest turned violent:
Two police officers were shot and wounded during a protest rally in Ferguson, Missouri, early on Thursday, hours after the city's police chief resigned in the wake of a scathing U.S. Justice Department report finding his force was rife with racial bias.
The shooting of the officers, who were in serious condition at a local hospital, comes after months of turmoil in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, triggered in August by the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman.
NBC News’ Jennifer Roller -- who witnessed the shooting herself -- described the terrifying scene:
Thankfully, Roller believes that the policeman she did see wounded will likely survive. She did not personally see the injuries of the other officer.
Meanwhile, additional video footage obtained by The Associated Press has also surfaced:
If you listen closely you can hear screams and loud cries as if someone had been shot. You can also hear someone -- presumably the shooter or an accomplice -- say: "Acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening."Not surprisingly, there are no suspects at this time:
"I don't know who did the shooting, to be honest with you," [St. Louis County Police Chief Jon] Belmar said, adding that he could not provide a description of the suspect or gun.
He said he assumed, based on where the officers were standing and the trajectory of the bullets, that "these shots were directed exactly at my officers."
Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE: Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) has released a statement:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to these brave officers and their families. Each day, our law enforcement officers risk their lives to protect the public and the fact that these officers appear to have been intentionally targeted is deeply troubling. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been in contact with the St. Louis County Police Department and stands ready to assist in the investigation. It is imperative that anyone with information about the shooting immediately come forward so that those who perpetrated these senseless crimes can be apprehended and brought to justice.”
UPDATE: Fox News reports that both police officers have left the hospital. They appear to be okay.