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Arrest Made in Connection With Shooting of Two Police Officers in Ferguson

An arrest has been made in connection with shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, officials said Sunday afternoon.
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An arrest has been made in connection with the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, officials said Sunday afternoon.

Jeffrey Williams, 20, who lives just north of Ferguson, was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle, police said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. He is being held on $300,000 bond, police said.

He could face up to life in prison, if convicted of the charges. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said during a news conference Sunday that Williams admitted to firing the shots that hit the two police officers, but the suspect claimed to have been in an argument with someone else, and said he wasn't specifically targeting the officers.

But McCulloch said investigators don't "completely buy" Williams' story. "We're not 100 percent sure that there was a dispute. That's something that's being investigated," McCulloch said, asking for anyone who witnessed the shooting to share information with law enforcement.

McCulloch also urged the public to come forward to assist in the investigation into whether anyone else was involved. "It's possible that there may have been other people with him at the time" of the shooting, McCulloch said. Witnesses, who provided information to police, aided in the arrest of Williams, who was protesting before the shooting and has protested before, McCulloch said.

The shooting Thursday — when gunshots rang out just as a protest was winding down — left two cops wounded, one with a bullet still lodged in his head.

A .40-caliber handgun was found during a search of Williams' home and matches the shell casings found at the scene, McCulloch said, adding that the suspect was on probation for receiving stolen property, and a warrant may have been out for him for failing to report to his parole officer.

An officer from the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, 32-years-old and a seven-year veteran, was shot in the face, officials said. The bullet entered under his right eye and lodged behind his ear. The other officer, from the county police force, was shot in the shoulder, and the bullet came out through his back, officials said. That officer is 41 years old and a 14-year veteran.

The officers were released from the hospital about nine hours after the incident.

Both have been informed of Williams' arrest, and "they're getting better not getting worse," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Sunday. "That's good news."

Attorney General Eric Holder, who had called the gunman a "punk" immediately after the shooting, released a statement saying,"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."