Conflict has once again erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, as two police officers were shot during a protest rally on Thursday, March 12.
According to The New York Times, the shooting happened just after midnight on Thursday morning.
Authorities have since charged 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams with first-degree assault.
Williams shot and wounded two police officers. According to Reuters, one of the officers was shot in the shoulder, while the other had a bullet lodged close to his ear. Both officers survived the shooting.
Williams allegedly fired a .40 caliber handgun from a car during the rallies. He is being held on $300,000 bond.
According to Reuters, the action unfolded while demonstrators were stationed outside of the Ferguson police headquarters, calling for reforms.
Protesters were outraged by a recent U.S. Justice Department report revealing that recently-retired Police Chief Tom Jackson promoted a racially-biased atmosphere within the department.
Authorities were quick to search for the criminal(s), as they almost immediately sent fully armed teams into neighboring and suspect residencies.
Although some news outlets reported that several men were apprehended in handcuffs, police department officials did not make an arrest until Sunday, March 15.
The shootings did not deter demonstrators from gathering again at the police station the following day. According to The Associated Press, approximately 200 protesters returned to the scene on Thursday evening, marching and chanting for the removal of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III.
The crime has provoked responses from several influential political figures, including President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to Reuters, Holder said, “What happened last night was a pure ambush. This was not someone who was trying to bring healing to Ferguson, this was a damn punk.” The White House also issued a statement saying, “Violence against police is unacceptable. We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement.”
Local politicians have also condemned the act, as two Missouri congressmen have offered a $3,000 reward for any information leading to the perpetrators, hoping to expedite the police investigation.
The incident is the most recent in a series of violent demonstrations following the Ferguson shooting, which has quickly become the epicenter of racial tension in the United States.
In the past year, the city has amassed a significant amount of infamy after the widely publicized fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Unfortunately, the racial tension surrounding American police departments has not been limited to just Ferguson. Thursday’s shooting is fairly reminiscent of the recent murders of two New York City patrolmen, who were gunned down by extremists looking to avenge the death of Brown and other African-Americans who have been killed by policemen.
These attacks on police officers have augmented the tension in the social issue surrounding racial discrimination by executive authorities. As of right now, there does not seem to be a solution in the near future.
Editor’s Note: Information from Reuters, The Associated Press, The New York Times and ABC was used in this report.