Baton Rouge fatal shooting: 3 US officers killed, hunt on for suspects in Louisiana

July 17, 2016 11:00 pm

Baton Rouge Police block Airline Highway after police were shot. Photo / AP

gunmen have ambushed and
fatally shot three police officers and wounded three others in Baton
Rouge, , the same city where a black man was killed by white
officers earlier this month.

The shots were fired around 9 am Sunday morning, kicking off a massive manhunt for the shooters.
Officials
confirm that six Baton Rouge Police Officers and East Baton Rouge
Parish sheriff’s deputies were struck during the gunfire.
The condition of one of the injured officers taken to hospital has been described as critical.
One
suspect is dead and two others may still be at large. Investigators are
working to determine how many shooters were involved.
“The scene
seems to be contained right now, but it is still active,” said Sergeant
Don Coppola, a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department. “We’re
asking everyone to stay out of the area.”
The ambush comes less than two weeks after the fatal shooting of a 2 black men in two separate states.
On
July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was shot several times and killed in Baton
Rouge by a white officer, one of two consecutive police killings that
led to renewed protests against racial bias in law enforcement.
One day after Sterling’s death, Philando Castile was fatally shot by police in his car in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

Friends
and family pay their respects as they attend the funeral of Alton
Sterling at Southern University on July 15, 2016 in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. Sterling was shot by a police officer in front of the Triple S
Food Mart in Baton Rouge on July 5th. (AFP photo)Those
police killings triggered a revenge attack by a black US Army veteran
who shot dead five officers in Dallas, Texas, during a protest against
police brutality and racial profiling of African Americans.
The attack in Dallas was one of the worst mass shootings on police in US history.
The
killings have renewed racial tensions that have flared repeatedly
across the US since the 2014 police killing of unarmed black teen
Michael Brown in Missouri.
Police in killed over
1,150 people in 2015, with the largest police departments
disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans, according to
data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence
project.

Three officers are confirmed dead and three others wounded after a
shooting in Baton Rouge, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Monday. 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.
The shooting – which happened just before 9
a.m (local time), 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.
Spokeswoman
Ashley Mendoza said the hospital received five patients from the police
shooting, all “law enforcement professionals.” Of the two who survived
the shooting, one is in critical condition and the other is in fair
condition.
Officers and deputies from the Baton Rouge Police
Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office were involved,
according to Hicks.
Gov. John Bel Edwards asked the public to pray for the officers involved nad their families.
“Rest
assured, every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be
used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” Edwards
said in a statement.
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.”

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