Authorities said two police officers were shot early Thursday at a protest outside the Ferguson, Mo. Police Department, hours after the city’s police chief resigned.
The St. Louis County Police Department confirmed that one of its officers, as well as an officer from Webster Groves, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the shooting. The shooting occurred just after midnight.
The St. Louis County officer, 41, was shot in the shoulder, police said. The Webster Groves officer, 32, was shot in the face.
County police Chief Jon Belmar said in a news conference that the injured officers had been assisting Ferguson police at a protest outside its department building. There were about 60-70 people present but the crowd was already breaking up when the shooting occurred, Belmar said.
At least three shots were fired from the “north, northwest” area across the street from the department, Belmar said. When asked to confirm that the shots didn’t come from protesters, Belmar responded that he couldn’t say who carried out the shooting but the perpetrator was “somehow embedded in that group of folks.”
Belmar added that he believed the two officers were targeted, since police were standing together and the shots were fired “parallel to the ground.”
“These police officers were standing there and they were shot just because they were police officers,” he told reporters.
Police were investigating the incident but didn’t have a suspect description to offer, Belmar said.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that scuffles had broken out earlier in the night between two camps of protesters. Some of the protesters were chanting because they weren’t satisfied with the resignations of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson and City Manager John Shaw, while the newspaper characterized another group of demonstrators as more “volatile” and “angry.”
Two people were arrested at the protest prior to the shooting, according to the newspaper.
Watch raw video of the shooting below via NBC News:
This post has been updated.