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Ferguson on High Alert After Two Shooting Incidents Involving Police

Two police officers were wounded in separate incidents, but authorities do not believe the shootings are linked to the ongoing protests over the death of Michael Brown.
September 28, 2014, 3:50pm
Photo by Jeff Roberson/AP

At least three suspects are at large in two separate shooting incidents involving policemen in St. Louis County, and Ferguson, Missouri, where the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by an officer last month has spurred weeks of angry protests.

One policeman was wounded Saturday night in Ferguson at the same time that two protests of the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown were underway, but the incidents did not appear to be linked, according to Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson.

Johnson appeared briefly before reporters and protesters Friday night in an apparent attempt to dispel rapidly spreading rumors that police had killed the shooter, local news reported.

"A police officer's been shot tonight," he said. "That's the only person that got shot."

Court says Mike Brown had no serious felony convictions and that's beside the point anyway. Read more here.

The officer was carrying out a routine patrol shortly after 9pm at a community center on Smith Avenue when the incident occurred, according to a St. Louis County Police Department statement on the incident.

The suspects fled the closed building and the policeman gave chase, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a Press conference Sunday. One of the men swung around and shot the officer, who quickly returned fire, but there was "no indication at this time that the suspect was struck by return gun fire," the statement read.

City of Ferguson spokesman Devin James told reporters Sunday morning that the, "officer interrupted a business being burglarized."

The policeman suffered a gunshot wound to his arm, and is currently out of treatment. He is expected to survive, Belmar said.

State of Emergency. Watch VICE News dispatches from Ferguson here.

Just three hours later, before dawn Sunday, another off-duty St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer was wounded in a separate incident after being shot at while driving his personal car along a highway, according to the police statement.

The policeman was traveling along Interstate 70 near 170 when a black sedan came from two lanes away on his left and began to overtake him, authorities said. An unknown number of men who carried handguns opened fire and hit the car multiple times.

The officer, who was wearing uniform pants but a civilian shirt at the time, was wounded by broken glass that shattered as his car was hit, according to police. It is unclear whether the incident was a random or targeted act.

St. Louis County Police spokesman Sergeant Brian Schellman told local news that authorities from Ferguson and Dellwood are investigating both incidents, and that no arrests or detentions had been made.

Justice Department Launches Civil Rights Investigation of Ferguson Police. Read more here.

Cars are turning around on I-70. Police are searching for something on the ground. — Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)September 28, 2014

Police do not believe the two shootings were linked.

Both incidents come as tensions between the predominantly white police force and the two-thirds black community of Ferguson continue to bubble up in protests, clashes, and arrests. The protests Saturday evening involved a group of around 100 people chanting "No justice, no peace."

Brown's parents told the Associated Press earlier Saturday that a videotaped apology from Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson delivered Thursday failed to measure up to the kind of justice that would come with the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot their son.

The indictment of Wilson for Brown's shooting is currently being considered by a county grand jury.

Follow Liz Fields on Twitter: @lianzifields