CRIME

Shooter Who Allegedly Wounded Ferguson Police, Allegedly Says They Weren't Target

03/24/2015 04:51 pm ET | Updated May 24, 2015
Associate Press

By Brendan O'Brien

March 24 (Reuters) - A man charged with wounding two officers outside the police headquarters of Ferguson, Missouri, earlier in March told an informant he fired shots that night but was not aiming at police, according to court documents released on Tuesday.

The suspect, Jeffrey Williams, 20, told the informant he had fired shots at "unknown individual(s)" in the vicinity of a protest rally where the officers were shot and still possessed the handgun, an affidavit attached to a search warrant said.

The warrant and affidavit were first reported by Yahoo News.

Williams' attorney, Jerryl Christmas, said on Tuesday he believes police have the wrong person, despite what is said in the affidavit, which supported a search of Williams' house.

The informant, who was outfitted with an audio and video recording device, picked Williams up at his house and drove him around St. Louis County, talking about the shooting. Police arrested Williams shortly after they returned to his house.

Christmas said he would not give the affidavit any merit until he reviews the recording and interviews the informant.

"I went back and asked my client about it and he reaffirmed that he would have never said that to anyone because he did not fire a weapon that night," Christmas told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Police recovered two .40-caliber shell casings and an unfired cartridge from the area where people believed the shots came from and a .40-caliber handgun from Williams' house, according to the documents.

Williams is charged with two counts of first-degree assault, a felony that calls for up to life in prison.

The officers were shot early on March 12 as a protest was winding down, the latest violent incident since a white Ferguson police officer fatally shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown during a confrontation in August. Both officers were treated and released from a local hospital.

The shootings came hours after Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned following a U.S. Justice Department report that found extensive racial bias in Ferguson's policing.

Christmas previously said Williams was beaten when he was taken into custody, leaving him with bruises on his back, shoulders and neck, a welt on his head, and mark on his face.

"Where are the body cameras at when they were beating his butt?" Christmas asked on Tuesday.

St. Louis County Police called the allegation that Williams had been beaten "completely false." (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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