CLAYTON, MISSOURI (KRON) — A man who was arrested on suspicion of shooting the two Ferguson officers Thursday, faces felony charges including assault and firing a weapon from a vehicle, according to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch who made the announcement Sunday.
Jeffrey Williams, 20, a black man, reportedly was in a vehicle when he fired his weapon, a 40 mm handgun, into the crowd in front of the Ferguson Police Department, said McCulloch. Earlier that evening, as well as on other occasions, McCulloch said, Williams had been a member of the demonstrations in front of the police department.
Police tied shell casings found at the scene of the shooting to the handgun recovered from the suspect’s home, said McCulloch. Williams reportedly confessed to participating in firing the shots. It remains unclear if the suspect had been targeting police, but he added, the evidence supports the charge that he may have been shooting at someone other than the police and ended up shooting the officers.
There was mention of a possible dispute between the shooter and others in the crowd present at the Fergusen Police Department on the night of the shootings. “I’m not sure we completely buy that part of it,” said McCulloch. Still, he added, “It’s possible he was firing at some other people and the officers, of course, were in the back.”
Regardless of who was shot, McCulloch said, the alleged assault is still punishable by life in prison on each of the counts pending against Williams. “It’s still essentially the same charge,” he said.
Williams was arrested on two counts of first-degree assault, one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle and three counts of armed criminal action, according to McCulloch. A bond was set to $300,000, he said. Williams had been on probation for receiving stolen property and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
The investigation included information from various witnesses at the scene of the shooting. “What got the police to this point is information provided to them by members of the community. I can’t stress how important that is,” he said. Especially in this case, he added, that community assistance “has been invaluable.”
McCulloch stressed, this is an ongoing investigation and “There’s still a lot to be done.” He added, as the investigation continues, McCulloch said, “We need the cooperation of the public.”
The condition of the two shot officers was reported to be improving.