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National

Suspect Arrested In Shooting Of Police In Ferguson

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We begin with Ferguson, Mo. A suspect has been arrested for last week's shooting of two police officers there. Gunshots wounded the officers during a protest. From St. Louis Public Radio, Durrie Bouscaren reports.

DURRIE BOUSCAREN, BYLINE: County police here arrested 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams late Saturday night after a three-day manhunt. Soon after last week's shooting, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar called it an ambush on police. But at yesterday's news conference, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Williams admitted to firing the shots, but claims he was not aiming at the officers. The protest was actually beginning to disperse at the time.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)

ROBERT MCCULLOCH: He may have had a dispute with some other individuals or felt some dispute. We're not sure we completely buy that part of it. But it's possible he was firing at some other people, and the officers, of course, were in the back.

BOUSCAREN: As they worked a security line outside the Ferguson police station the day the city's chief of police resigned, one officer took a bullet to his shoulder, and another was hit in the cheek. Police say they believe the shots were fired from a car on a hill overlooking the police station. Williams has been charged with five counts, including felony assault and shooting a firearm from a moving vehicle. He's being held on a $300,000 cash bond.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: We back the badge. We back the badge.

BOUSCAREN: On Sunday afternoon, a few dozen protesters in support of the police convened outside the Ferguson Police Station. On the other side of the street, protesters critical of the police role in the shooting of Michael Brown gathered, as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets.

BOUSCAREN: On social media, activists are denying knowing Williams or even seeing him at regular protests. Organizer Alexis Templeton of Millennial Activists United says the reddish marks on Williams' face and neck in an arrest photo released by police look like bruises. But St. Louis County police say Jeffrey Williams was arrested without incident. This isn't the first time there's been a shooting during a protest in Ferguson. Alexis Templeton says there's a constant fear that protests can turn dangerous.

ALEXIS TEMPLETON: But on both ends, some people were scared to come because they were scared they were going get shot by protesters. Then other people - they come out 'cause they're like, you all are crazy. The police are going to kill you.

BOUSCAREN: Police say they arrested Williams based on tips from the public and are asking anyone with more information to call them as the investigation continues. For NPR News, Durrie Bouscaren in St. Louis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.