A Ferguson, Missouri, police officer was shot Saturday evening, according to St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman.
The officer was wounded in the arm. His injuries are non-life-threatening and he is in the hospital, said Ferguson police spokesman Tim Zoll.
Police said that the officer was shot near the Ferguson community center, an area which has not been the focus of protests over the Michael Brown shooting.
The police officer was patrolling alone in his car, two men saw the car and ran, said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.
“The officer exited his car; he ran to the west chasing these individuals. As he came into very close proximity with them, one of the individuals turned with a firearm,” Belmar said. “The officer was able to block it with his arm and then was shot in the arm by one of the suspects.”
The wounded officer later said that he fired “a couple of shots,” Belmar said, but police have no evidence that either of the suspects was struck.
He said he did not think the shooting was connected with Ferguson’s protests.
“It didn’t happen within the proximity of the protest area,” he said. “This (the shooting scene) is an area that’s fairly secluded.”
“I wouldn’t have any reason to believe right now that it was linked in any way, shape, manner or form with the protests,” he said.
Other police sources had previously reported that there was one suspect. One police spokesman said that the officer saw him flee from the back door of Ferguson’s community center.
Police from multiple forces in the area responded to the scene on West Florissant Ave., set up a staging area, KMOV reported. Officers could be seen entering the neighborhood near the community center by car and on foot.
Michael Brown protests
Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Ferguson since Brown, an unarmed African-American teen, was shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9.
Despite demands by protesters, Wilson has not been charged in this case, though a grand jury is hearing evidence that could lead to an indictment.
Tensions reignited in the St. Louis suburb on Thursday night after a late-night appearance by Police Chief Thomas Jackson to address the crowd. A scuffle ensued, and arrests were made.
Dramatically wading into the crowd, Jackson apologized for his department’s actions after the shooting, but pledged not to resign.
“I’m sorry, and I said that from my heart,” he said. “I had to get that off my chest. It’s been sitting there for two months.”
But not everyone was anxious to hear from him.
“If you are not resigning tonight, go home,” one man said on a bullhorn.
Brown’s shooting also stirred complaints of widespread racial profiling in Ferguson, which Jackson rejected Thursday.
“It’s never been the intention of the Ferguson Police Department — or any police department that I know — to intentionally target individuals because of race,” said the chief. “If there is that happening, it’s a crime and it needs to be addressed.”