barnes jewish hospital

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2 officers were shot outside Ferguson police HQ last night

Two officers were shot outside police headquarters in Ferguson, Missouri, early Thursday morning after a long night of protests. The officers are conscious and being treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

At a news conference, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one of the officers, a 41-year-old from his department, was struck in the shoulder. The other, a 32-year-old from the nearby Webster Groves Police Department, was shot in the face. 

(Credit @deray for the Tweets)

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If you’ve visited Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO recently, you may have noticed the benevolent bronze gaze of Barnes Hospital’s founder, Robert A. Barnes. The St. Louis philanthropist’s bust has been watching over his hospital and its patients since the very beginning. From Barnes Hospital’s dedication in 1914 to the present day, the bust has stood guard in a number of different locations, both inside and outside the hospital.

BREAKING: Two Police Officers Shot at Ferguson Protests

Two police officers were shot in Ferguson, Mo. shortly after midnight Thursday amid protests outside of the Ferguson police station.

Details are still emerging, but early reports indicate that the two officers, one from Webster Grove, the other from St Louis County, were hit with gunfire just as the crowd of protesters was beginning to break up. The Webster Grove officer was shot in the face, and the other officer was hit in the shoulder, according to St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar. Both officers were taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

At a press conference early Thursday, Belmar said that “These police officers were standing there and they were shot, just because they were police officers,” telling reporters that “the night was fairly uneventful until about midnight.”

It is unclear why or exactly where the shots were fired from, but protesters’ accounts indicate that they came from people outside the main group of demonstrators, possibly from a hill opposite the police station, according to a Susan Weich, a reporter with the St Louis Post-Dispatch, who was tweeting from the scene.  “I don’t know who did the shootings to be honest with you right now, but somehow they were embedded in that group of folks,” Belmar said.

According to an eyewitness account, quoted in the LA Times, about three shots were fired. “It was the first time I’d heard a bullet whiz and pass my head,” Tony Rice, a Ferguson activist, told the newspaper, adding that several police shields were lying on the ground, dropped by officers taking cover.

Tensions have been running high in Ferguson after police chief Thomas Jackson stepped down Wednesday in the wake of a scathing Justice Department report that has caused the departure of several high-ranking officials so far.

“As I have said all along, we can not sustain this forever without problems – that’s not an indictment on everybody that’s out there expressing their first amendment rights,” continued Belmar. “But what we have seen in law enforcement that this is a very very very dangerous environment for the officers to work in regarding the amount of gunfire that we’ve experienced out there.“

According to a St Louis County police spokesman who spoke to the Guardian, “Both officers are at hospital. No update yet on condition.”

For more on Ferguson, read ATTN’s reporting here.