A 20-year-old man has been arrested in the shooting of two police officers in Ferguons, Mo., according to reports.
Jeffery Williams is being charged on two counts of assault in the first degree, three counts of armed criminal action and firing a weapon from a vehicle. He was arrested late Saturday night.
Williams was reportedly part of a demonstration and told police that he was firing at someone he had a dispute with and did not intend to hit the officers.
Leaders of groups who have been organizing demonstrations including, the local NAACP chapter, say they don’t know Williams.
However, some are saying the shooting was a set up by police. North Country Village, Mo. city manager John Muhammad said in a live television interview that he believes police played a role in the shooting.
“I think it was a complete set up,” Muhammad said. “I think it was a set up between members of the police fraternity; what I like to call them. I think they operate just like the KKK. I think they did it to make themselves a victim when honestly the victim are black people. I think it’s just a publicity stunt no more than that.”
As a result of his statements, Muhammad was suspended from his job and could face being fired.
Protest organizer Rev. Derrick Robinson said in another television interview that he also believes the shooting was a set up.
“And I think, I believe he was frustrated, and I really believe he was set up, and I really believe that,” he said.
In a city already filled with tension, two officers from the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri were shot during a demonstration Wednesday night.
Reports indicate one of the officers was shot in the face while another was hit in the shoulder. Both officers were released from the hospital after treatment.
Local law enforcement is calling the violent act an “ambush.”
The incident was caught on amateur video with two shots being heard and someone screaming.
The shooting comes on the day Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson stepped down amid a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation that determined law enforcement in the Ferguson treated Blacks unfairly.
Ferguson City Manager John Shaw also resigned due to findings in the DOJ report along with Ronald Brockmeyer, the municipal judge in Ferguson.
The investigation is a result of the 2014 police shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown. Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, was not indicted at the state or federal level.
“I think it’s a miracle that we haven’t had any instances similar to this over the summer and fall, (given) the amount of gunfire,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. “We could have buried two officers.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the shooting of the officers and vowed to offer resources needed to help.
“Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months,” he said. “We wish these injured officers a full and speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department’s full range of investigative resources.”