Two police officers were hit by gunfire early today outside the Ferguson, Mo., police department, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The shots were fired just after midnight as police were confronting protesters who had gathered outside the police station. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was with his department and the other was with the Webster Groves department. Both were in serious condition, with non-life-threatening injuries. Yesterday, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned effective March 19.
He told the Post-Dispatch, “I believe this is the appropriate thing to do at this time. This city needs to move forward without any distractions.” Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff will be appointed as the department’s interim chief until a national search for a permanent chief can be conducted. Jackson, 57, is the sixth city employee to leave after a scathing U.S. Justice Department report that alleged racist police and court practices that aim to raise the city’s revenue instead of protecting its citizens. The report was commissioned after the shooting death of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson last August. St. Louis County may take over Ferguson’s policing functions, reports KSDK-TV.