U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, while announcing the first six pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice at the Department of Justice March 12, 2015 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Mo., while announcing the first six pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2015  Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

Ferguson Shooter Is a ‘Damn Punk,' Eric Holder Says

Mar 12, 2015

The gunman who wounded two police officers in Ferguson, Mo., is a "damn punk," Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

The two officers were shot early Thursday morning at a protest in front of the Ferguson Police Department after the Ferguson police chief announced his resignation in the wake of a excoriating Department of Justice report that found widespread racial bias among the city’s police. The shooter was still at large as of Thursday afternoon.

“This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson,” Holder said at a gathering for the Justice Department’s launch of a pilot program to build trust between law enforcement and local communities. “This was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord in an area that’s trying to get its act together and trying to bring together a community that has been fractured for too long.”

The Attorney General reiterated a statement he released earlier in the day condemning the “heinous attack” and offering the support of the Justice Department and the FBI.

He also said that local law enforcement in Ferguson has made “good faith steps” since the release of the Justice Department report last week.

“But make no mistake, we still have a long way to go to bring about this systemic change that is needed and that is long overdue in that area," he said. "But I think the earlier indications have truly been positive.”

Read next: The Road from Selma to Ferguson

Witness the Aftermath of 2 Police Shot in Ferguson

Police officers stand on alert during a protests outside the Ferguson Police Department on March 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo.
Police officers stand on alert during a protests outside the Ferguson Police Department on March 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo.Michael B. Thomas—Getty Images
Police officers stand on alert during a protests outside the Ferguson Police Department on March 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo.
A protester chants in front of a flag which reads, "Racism lives here", outside the City of Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Court in Ferguson, March 11, 2015.
Police arrests a protestor outside the City of Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Court in Ferguson, March 11, 2015.
Protestors hold signs during a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department on March11, 2015 in Ferguson.
Police officers respond to a fellow officer hit by gunfire outside the Ferguson Police Headquarters in Ferguson
Two officers shot
Police mobilize in the parking lot of the Ferguson Police Station after two police officers were shot while standing guard in front of the Ferguson Police Station, March 12, 2015.
Paramedics load one of two police officer who were shot while standing guard in front of the Ferguson Police Station during a protest on March 12, 2015.
APTOPIX Killings by Police Ferguson
Police guard the corner off Adams Street and South Florissant Rd after two officers were shot while standing guard in front of the Ferguson Police Station on March 12, 2015.
Police officers stand on alert during a protests outside the Ferguson Police Department on March 11, 2015 in Ferguson, M
... VIEW MORE

Michael B. Thomas—Getty Images
1 of 10

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.