Law enforcement officers in Missouri are seeking whoever shot two police officers in Ferguson early Thursday. The officers have been released from the hospital, and long-term injuries aren't expected.
After an unidentified assailant shot two officers early Thursday, police swarmed a home in the St. Louis suburb Ferguson. Television images showed officers on the roof breaking into the attic with heavy tools. A spokesman said police had taken an undisclosed number of people from the house but made no arrests so far and declined to confirm media reports that officers had led away two men and a woman.
In a statement, US Attorney General Eric Holder called the shootings "inexcusable and repugnant."
It remained unclear from where the shots that sent two officers to the hospital came. However, police officials believe the attack was planned.
"This is really an ambush," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Thursday.
'Cannot sustain this'
The shooting followed the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. He was the sixth city employee forced out since a US Justice Deparment inquiry - launched after a white police officer killed the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown - found a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias. Two-thirds of Ferguson's population is black, but its administration is predominantly white.
"I have said all along that we cannot sustain this forever without problems," Chief Belmar said on Thursday, referring to festering tensions in the city since Brown's death.
Mayor James Knowles III said the city would pay one year of Jackson's annual salary of $96,000 (90,000 euros) and health coverage. Jackson's resignation comes into effect on March 19.
Protests became familiar in Ferguson and across the United States after Brown's death last summer at the hands of Darren Wilson, whom a grand jury declined to indict, setting off further demonstrations. In February, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute Wilson on civil rights charges. Until Thursday, the protests had not seen anyone shot.
"We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement," Brown's family said. "We specifically denounce the actions of standalone agitators who unsuccessfully attempt to derail the otherwise peaceful and nonviolent movement that has emerged throughout this nation to confront police brutality."
Protests against police violence in the United States have become increasingly frequent in the wake of the death of the unarmed teenager. President Barack Obama addressed the issue on Saturday at the commemoration of a civil rights milestone.
mkg/bw (Reuters, AFP,dpa, AP)