From Associated Press, via New York Post
FERGUSON, Mo. — Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday, a spokesman for the county police department said, as protesters gathered following the resignation of the city’s embattled police chief.
The officers were shot shortly after midnight Thursday, according to St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman. Their conditions were unknown and no further details were immediately available, he said.
The shots were fired as what had earlier been a crowd of about 150 people had begun to dwindle, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Some protesters fell to the ground and others ran. A huge police presence, including officers in riot gear, later surrounded the department.
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Ferguson Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff told the newspaper that he didn’t think either officer was from his department. Eickhoff said he didn’t know the extent of the officers’ injuries.
Representatives of the Ferguson Police Department could not immediately be reached. The Highway Patrol said early Thursday that troopers were headed to the scene but they could not provide any details.
TV station KSDK reported the officers were taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Mayor James Knowles III announced Wednesday that the city had reached a mutual separation agreement with Police Chief Thomas Jackson that will pay Jackson one year of his nearly $96,000 annual salary and health coverage. Jackson’s resignation becomes effective March 19, at which point Eickhoff will become acting chief while the city searches for a replacement.
Jackson was the sixth employee to resign or be fired after a Justice Department report cleared white former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson of civil rights charges in the shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson last summer. A separate Justice Department report found a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias in the city police department.
Jackson had previously resisted calls by protesters and some of Missouri’s top elected leaders to step down over his handling of Brown’s shooting and the weeks of sometimes-violent protests that followed. He was widely criticized from the outset, both for an aggressive police response to protesters and for his agency’s erratic and infrequent releases of key information.