Ferguson shootings were 'ambush': Police

FERGUSON, United States (AFP) - Two police officers shot overnight in the troubled Missouri city of Ferguson - which for months has battled racial tensions - were victims of an "ambush," police said Thursday.

One officer was shot in the face, and the other in the shoulder, as protesters outside the Ferguson police station - who gathered after the city's embattled police chief resigned - dispersed at around midnight.

The incident renewed tensions in the St Louis suburb, which has been on a razor's edge since the Aug 9 killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

"By God's grace, we didn't lose two officers last night," said St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar as detectives combed the scene of the shooting amid a search for suspects.

"This is really an ambush, is what it is," Belmar told reporters.

"That is something that is very difficult to guard against when you have a group of officers standing together in a large group and you have gunfire, certainly gunfire directed at them."

The shooting came just hours after Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson resigned, in the wake of a blistering US Justice Department report that shed a damning light on racial bias in his department.

Yellow police tape surrounded the Ferguson police station Thursday morning as detectives combed the vicinity, looking for clues.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.