Three police officers dead in Baton Rouge shooting

Authorities talk to the driver of a car near an area where several officers were shot while on duty less than a mile from police headquarters, Sunday, July 17, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Mike Kunzelman)

Three officers are confirmed dead and three others wounded after a shooting in Baton Rouge, a sheriff's office spokeswoman said Sunday. One suspect is dead and law enforcement officials believe two others are still at large, the spokeswoman said.

Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, said in a statement that the public should call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious.

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The shooting—which happened just before 9 a.m., less than 1 mile from police headquarters—comes amid spiraling tensions across the city—and the country—between the black community and police. The races of the suspect or suspects and the officers were not immediately known.

Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola told The Associated Press earlier that the officers were rushed to a local hospital. Coppola said authorities are asking people to stay away from the area.

Multiple police units were stationed at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where stricken officers were believed to be undergoing treatment at a trauma center. A police officer with a long gun was blocking the parking lot at the emergency room.

Officers and deputies from the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office were involved, according to Hicks.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw police vehicles with lights flashing massed about a half mile from the police headquarters on Airline Highway. Police armed with long guns on the road stopped at least two vehicles driving away from the scene and checked their trunks and vehicles before allowing them to drive away.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white officers earlier this month after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. Then on Thursday, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Over the weekend, thousands of people took to the streets in Baton Rouge to condemn Sterling's death, including hundreds of demonstrators who congregated outside the police station. Authorities arrested about 200 people over the three-day weekend.

Michelle Rogers, 56, said the pastor at her church had led prayers Sunday for Sterling's family and police officers, asking members of the congregation to stand up if they knew an officer.

Rogers said an officer in the congregation hastily left the church near the end of the service, and a pastor announced that "something had happened."

"But he didn't say what. Then we started getting texts about officers down," she said.

Rogers and her husband drove near the scene, but were blocked at an intersection closed down by police.

"I can't explain what brought us here," she said. "We just said a prayer in the car for the families."

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
J Cosgrove
2 years 5 months ago
It will be interesting to see how the editors react to this event. The normal way for the left to react is if a person of color kills whites, to blame guns. But this is so obviously has nothing to do with guns. Will they cite the immediate cause? Will they cite the underlying cause? Neither of which has to do with guns. Probably not because that may prove embarrassing for them.

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