A 20-year-old black man is being held on $300,000 bond in the shooting of 2 police officers during a peaceful demonstration in Ferguson, MO., on Thursday, Mar. 12. The police officers were wounded in the face and shoulder. They were treated and released on the day of the shootings.
Police said tips from the public led to the arrest of Jeffrey Williams on Saturday. He was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, three counts of armed criminal action and firing a weapon during a drive-by. St. Louis County officials announced his arrest on Sunday.
Williams supposedly told investigators he wasn’t aiming at the two police officers when he fired a handgun from a car early Thursday morning. He supposedly said he was targeting someone else when he opened fire.
Police recovered the .40 caliber handgun that was allegedly used in the shooting. Officials say the handgun matched the caliber of bullet casings found at the scene.
Ferguson residents are skeptical of official statements following the arrest.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Williams was “out there earlier that evening as part of the demonstration” and that he shot into the crowd as he was leaving the demonstration.
But Brittany Ferrell, 26, a protest leader, said Williams was not part of the demonstrations outside the Ferguson Police Department. She said she spoke to other demonstrators and no one knew him. She said Williams is being used to put a negative spin on the protests.
“This is a fear tactic,” she said. “We are very tight-knit. We know each other by face if not by name, and we’ve never seen this person before.”
Others believe Williams may have been coerced into taking the fall for the shooting. Others believe Williams was offered a deal to drop charges in an unrelated case. They scoff at the dubious police claims that Williams shot 2 officers with a handgun from a distance of 125 yards away while fleeing in a vehicle.
A nearly impossible feat, even by a trained marksman.
The demonstrators were celebrating the ouster of Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, who stepped down following a scathing DOJ report on corruption and racism within his police department.
Protests have been a daily occurrence in Ferguson since the August 9, 2014 shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a former Ferguson police officer.
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