- 3 officers confirmed dead, 1 in critical condition in hospital
- 2 suspects, dressed in all black, still at large
- Police urge anyone with information to call police
Three Baton Rouge police officers were killed Sunday and several others were injured during a shooting while on duty near police headquarters.
WATCH: Baton Rouge police responding to shooting
A Baton Rouge police spokesperson confirmed shortly after noon Sunday that three officers had been killed in the shooting that started just before 9 a.m., at a B-Quick Convenience Store on Airline Highway -less than 2 kilometres from police headquarters. Three other officers were also injured. CNN reported that at least one of the injured officers was in critical condition at a local Baton Rouge hospital.
Baton Rouge police said one suspect was killed during a firefight with police. Police are now using a robot to check the body for explosives.
Police believe two other suspects -believed to be dressed in all black clothing- are still at large.
Mayors office confirms: 3 dead. 2 police. One sheriffs deputy. Follow @theadvocatebr
— Rebekah Allen (@rebekahallen) July 17, 2016
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.
“We want to get the message out as quickly as possible,” a police spokesperson told reporters. “If anybody in this area saw anything suspicious, please give law enforcement a call. We’re trying to get as much information as we can right now. We’re asking for your assistance, we need your assistance.”
One witness told WAFB News that the shooting started before police arrived.
He said he saw officers fall down and “hide” while he heard between 25-30 gunshots.
“I walked out into the street to see what was going on, there was a man lying in the street. I assume he was dead because he wasn’t moving.”
Another witness streamed part of the scene on Facebook.
“This man is shooting at the police. He has a mask on, looking like a ninja…He is military,” she can be heard saying. “I don’t know who this man is.”
A friend of one of the slain officers told a local reporter that he couldn’t “undertand” how an incident like the shooting could happen.
“He loved his job,” close friend of slain officer says. “I don’t understand how this could happen to someone like him.” #BRShooting
— Jim Mustian (@JimMustian) July 17, 2016
The White House said in a statement Sunday afternoon that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the situation.
A spokesman for the Louisiana governor says that the governor is at the hospital where police officers were taken following a shooting in Baton Rouge.
Richardo Carbo told The Associated Press that Gov. John Bel Edwards was meeting Sunday with officers and their families.
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.”
(With files from Global News Staff)