Before two officers in Ferguson, Mo. were shot during a demonstration in front of the troubled city's police department just after midnight last night, protesters were gathered in a parking lot across the street, celebrating the police chief's resignation earlier that day, and to call for more changes in the department.
Footage that was being live streamed by Twitter user @Heather1957 shows the moment when an unconfirmed number of shots rang out, striking one officer in the face and another in the shoulder.
Protesters can immediately be heard saying "it was on the hill" in the video.
Heather De Mian, the livestreamer, says that in the chaos following the shootings, police confiscated her phone for evidence, but did not heed her instructions for archiving the footage that captured the event.
"They destroyed the streamed evidence if they didn't archive," she tweeted. The footage we just saw was luckily recorded online by one of her friends, she later said.
Archived footage she took moments before the shooting shows the protest was peaceful, with demonstrators sharing jokes and laughing in between chants.
Vines taken from the scene show protesters and police ducking down, some fleeing, after the shooting.
Police took cover and drew weapons.
"These police officers were standing there, and they were shot—just because they were police officers," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters at a hospital where the officers were being treated. "I don't know who did the shooting, to be honest with you right now. But somehow they were embedded in that group of [protesters]."
Immediately, those present started giving their accounts of what happened. The resounding account is that the shots apparently came from the top of a hill, about a couple hundred yards from where the crowd was gathered.
Some activists were troubled by the chief's assertion that the shots came from the crowd, despite admitting that the department has little evidence.
"This is what they wanted to happen," one Ferguson officer reportedly said of the protesters, according to the New York Times. Protesters who heard the comment reportedly told him he was wrong.
Police were looking for evidence at the top of the hill, a few protesters reported, though the department has not made public any evidence they might have found.
"My heart goes out to the officers injured tonight. There is too much violence in our city and this crisis of trust makes us all less safe," St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been outspoken about his support of protesters, tweeted after the incident.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.