Over the weekend, Jeffrey Williams, a 20-year-old man, was charged with shooting two police officers at a demonstration outside the Ferguson Police Department last week. Williams, who had reportedly attended the protest prior to the shooting, admitted to firing the shots that struck two officers from neighboring counties, but claims he wasn't aiming at the police.
Why Would Williams Fire at Police?
Williams, who was on probation for receiving stolen goods, "has acknowledged firing the shots,” according to St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch. However, Williams' ensuing statements to police contradict a prevailing narrative that police officers had been specifically targeted in the shooting.
Thursday's shooting had drawn sharp condemnations from across the spectrum, including the parents of Michael Brown, who issued a statement saying that they “reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement.” Hours after the shooting, at a press conference outside the hospital where the injured officers were being treated, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters "these shots were directed exactly at my police officers.”
But on Sunday, McCulloch conceded that the motive for the shooting might have been a personal dispute between Williams and some protesters in the crowd. “It is possible that he was firing at someone other than the police,” McCulloch said, adding that he also wasn't "100 percent sure" that there was a dispute either.