Antonio French has a message for both protesters and police alike in Ferguson: "We have a problem. We must face it."
The St. Louis politician expressed the sentiment during an appearance on HuffPost Live, as well as on Twitter, Thursday morning, following a shooting outside the Ferguson Police Department that left two officers seriously injured.
"The whole St. Louis community is a little bit on edge," French told HuffPost Live, as he reflected on the night's brutal turn. "Everyone is surprised by the violence last night and saddened. Our hearts go out to the families of the two officers. This really shows how divided the community is and how vulnerable we all are."
French also emphasized that message on Twitter, affirming the need for communities and police to respect one another:
French speculated the shooting was the act of an individual who exploited the larger protests to use as cover. "[It] happened when the protesters were breaking up for the night, there were very few people out there, and then suddenly gunshots came from ... behind the protest area," he recalled. "Everybody was shocked."
"With those two individuals in those spots," he said, "it would be impossible for the community and the St. Louis region to move forward."