St. Louis County Police announced on Sunday that they had made an arrest related to the two officers who were shot during a protest on Thursday in Ferguson, Missouri.
St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that authorities had brought charges, including assault in the first degree, against 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams. Williams is from the St. Louis area and had been on probation for receiving stolen property.
Williams had been involved in protests on the evening that the shooting occurred and had "acknowledged" firing shots, according to McCulloch. McCulloch said that Williams, who is African-American, may have been firing at someone other than the police.
But regular demonstrators denied that they had ever seen Williams at the protests.
"We don't know him," said Tony Rice, the founder of Ground Level Support, who has been protesting since August
After naming three young male protesters who were regularly at the demonstrations, Rice told HuffPost, "I don't think there is a male 20-years-old that regularly protest outside of them."
"I think I can speak for the protester community in saying we don't know him," said Rice.
After the press conference, press swarmed Alicia Street when she helped source the first picture of Williams. Street, 29, has been actively involved in protest since August as well and says she was unfamiliar with Williams as well.
"I have never seen him at a protest. I cannot recall that I even seen him that night. We know a lot of people out there, we really do. I even showed pictures to other regular protesters and they said they didn't know him," Street told HuffPost.
Other regular demonstrators also said that they did not recognize Williams.
Asked 4 protest regulars if they've ever seen/met Jeffrey Williams. Their text responses:
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) March 15, 2015
The shooting came during protests after Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced that he would resign. One of the officers was shot in the face and the other was shot in the shoulder, but both survived the attack.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement on Sunday that the arrest was a testament to good collaboration between federal and local authorities.
“This arrest sends a clear message that acts of violence against our law enforcement personnel will never be tolerated. The swiftness of this action is a credit to the significant cooperation between federal authorities and the St. Louis County Police Department," Holder said. "The ATF’s ballistic imaging technology has played a critical role in the ongoing investigation. I commend both the ATF and St. Louis police for their tremendous work in identifying this suspect."
President Barack Obama condemned the shooting on Thursday, posting on Twitter that "violence against police is unacceptable." Holder also called the shooter a "damn punk" last week.
This story has been updated with details about the shooting suspect and quotes from demonstrators.
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