Last week, Ferguson protesters theorized darkly on Twitter that the person who shot the two police officers during a protest in front of the Ferguson Police Headquarters, might be a malicious infiltrator – a white supremacist, or a tea partier, or perhaps even a police officer – behaving violently at their “peaceful” protest just to make them look bad.
Well -in a surprising twist of fate, the Ferguson cop shooter turned out to be none of the above, He turns out to be a black fellow demonstrator.
Via the NYTs:
A 20-year-old suspect was charged Sunday with shooting two police officers during a protest outside Police Headquarters here Thursday. Law enforcement officials said the man, Jeffrey L. Williams, claimed to have been targeting someone other than the officers and shot them by accident from inside a car.
The authorities said Mr. Williams, who was on probation at the time of the shooting for receiving stolen property, admitted his involvement to investigators and acknowledged firing the shots. He told investigators that he had a dispute with some people outside the police station that had nothing to do with the demonstration, officials said.
“It’s possible at this point that he was firing shots at someone other than the police, but struck the police officers,” Robert P. McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, Mo., the seat of St. Louis County. “He has stated that he may have had a dispute with some other individuals. I’m not sure we completely buy that part of it. But in any event, it’s possible he was firing at some other people.”
Mr. McCulloch added: “We’re not 100 percent sure that there was a dispute. That’s part of the claim right now. It’s possible that there was a dispute. It’s possible that he was targeting police officers. We just have to wait for the investigation to develop.”
By Friday, the investigation had appeared stalled. The break in the case that pointed to Mr. Williams as the primary suspect appeared to come from tips and information provided by members of the public. Investigators recovered a .40-caliber handgun they believed had been used in the shooting. Mr. McCulloch said more arrests were possible.
I think McCulloch was using an abundance of caution when he said it’s “possible” Williams was targeting police officers.
He had this to say on Facebook back in February.
I find the idea that Williams got into a dispute with fellow protesters and ended up shooting two cops by accident – just a tiny bit implausible.
Fellow demonstrators on Twitter, who last week had such interesting theories about who the guy might be, are now saying they’ve never seen him before – “he’s not one of us!!!”
According to the LA Times:
Some of Ferguson’s prominent activists said they didn’t recall Williams.
“I don’t know him at all,” Tony Rice, who witnessed the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times. “I have more hours on the ground than anyone. This guy is a lone wolf.”
DeRay Mckesson, another prominent activist who witnessed the shooting, tweeted: “No, I cannot recall ever seeing the suspected shooter, Jeffrey Williams, at any protests, including the night in question.”
During a press conference Sunday afternoon, St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch said the Williams was someone who had taken part in demonstrations before the night of the shooting.
Via Truth Revolt:
MCCULLOCH: We have filed charges just a few minutes ago against Jeffrey Williams, a 20 year old man, he is now charged with two counts of assault in the first degree for the two police officers who were shot a couple of days ago in Ferguson in front of the police station. Also charged with firing a weapon from a vehicle, which is a class B felony in the state of Missouri, and charged with three counts of armed criminal action, one for each one of those.
When asked by a reporter if the suspect was a protester, McCulloch said that yes, he was a demonstrator.
REPORTER: So was he involved in the protests?
MCCULLOCH: Yes. He is a demonstrator, he was out there earlier that evening as part of the demonstration, he’s been out there on other occasions as part of the demonstrations.
On Facebook, Williams at least once mentioned plans to take part in some of the Ferguson chaos back in September.