Chief Jon Belmar, police chief of St. Louis County:
reporting that there were about 75 protesters, about 40 police officers from around the area (not just Ferguson) at the time of the shooting.
Officers were all in a line.
One officer, from Webster Groves PD, 32, was shot below eye, bullet is lodged in his head below his ear.
Other officer, St. Louis P.D., 41, was shot through and through the shoulder. He is in a great deal of pain.
Muzzle flashes were from about 125 yards away.
This is only one of the instances where there has been shooting involving protests since last summer.
We were very close to burying two police officers over this, very close to what happened in NYC with Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.
Q. How do we know it’s associated with protest?
A. Unfortunate association with that gathering, which was spread out, not just the people in front of PD.
They recovered pistol shell casings, do not know if they are related to the shooting. But thinks it was a pistol, doesn’t think it’s a rifle.
Q. Is this a random act?
A. No, it’s an ambush, you are basically defenseless when you have a group of officers in a large group.
Q. How’s the morale of your officers.
A. I think it’s pretty good. Of course they have some concerns.
Webster Groves officer was wearing helmet, had face shield up.
People have First Amendment rights. But people have to understand what officers are going through.
Belmar noted that while some protesters are there exercising their First Amendment rights that there are others there for “not the right reasons”, i.e. to cause trouble and to stir things up. He ended talking about how hard it is as an officer in the face of such constant action against the police how difficult it is.