Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others were injured on Sunday during a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
One suspected gunman is dead. Citing unnamed law enforcement officials, multiple news agencies have identified him as Gavin Eugene Long, a black male from Kansas City, Missouri. Sunday was reportedly Long's 29th birthday. He was a former Marine who served five years in Iraq. He apparently used the alias "Cosmo Setepenra," and was a purported life coach and online radio host.
One sheriff's deputy is in critical condition and fighting for his life, city and state officials said at a press conference Sunday evening. Another is in fair condition, and a third suffered minor injuries.
"The violence, the hatred, it just has to stop," said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. "Our community is hurting, and only through peace and unity can we heal, and that's going to take constructive dialogue. There is no place for more violence. It doesn't address any injustice, perceived or real. It is just another injustice in itself."
Authorities assured the public that there is no "active shooter" in Baton Rouge, and said that multiple law enforcement agencies have been called into help investigate "a number of active leads." Police said they have detained two "persons of interest" who were apprehended in Addis, Louisiana, a city across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge. Law enforcement officials said earlier in the day that two suspects could still be at large.
President Barack Obama also condemned the shooting, which occurred 10 days after an attack on police in Dallas that left five officers dead and nine injured. "We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement," Obama said. "These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one."
The shooting occurred in the area of Airline and Old Hammond highways, less than one mile from police headquarters in Louisiana's capital.
At about 8:45am local time, an officer reported via police radio dispatch that a woman told him "there was a suspect walking with a [unintelligible] and an assault rifle out here behind the store," according to local newspaper The Advocate. Frantic calls for help soon followed.
"Shots fired, officer down, shots fired, officer down," an officer could be heard yelling. "I don't know where he's fucking shooting from."
An unnamed witness who spoke to local TV news broadcaster WAFB described hearing at least 25 gunshots in the vicinity of a convenience store on Airline Highway just before 9am.
"I walked out into the street to see what was going on, there was a man lying in the street," the witness said. "I assume he was dead because he wasn't moving."
The witness said it appeared as though the shooting had broken out before police arrived on the scene.
"This was not a come at police shooting," the witness said.
Gunshots could be heard in footage from the scene that was broadcast by a local TV news station.
NEW: Video of alleged shots fired at officers in Baton Rouge https://t.co/gwv4VmRqse https://t.co/7HGD5AuECW
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 17, 2016
The shooting of Alton Sterling earlier this month by Baton Rouge police provoked protests in the city and nationwide after cellphone footage of the incident was shared widely online. The US Department of Justice is currently investigating the case.
Days after Sterling's death, police in Minnesota killed Philandro Castile in another incident that was caught on camera and viewed by millions. Soon after, on July 7, gunman Micah Johnson, an ex-Marine, opened fire on police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.
Last week, Baton Rouge police arrested four people in a case that authorities said involved a "credible threat" against law enforcement in the city. The suspects, including a 12-year-old boy, were arrested after breaking into a pawn shop and stealing eight handguns. One of the suspects, 17-year-old Antonio Thomas, reportedly told one of the officers that he planned to "look for bullets to kill police officers.
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