Crime & Justice

3 police officers killed in Baton Rouge shooting

Baton Rouge police redirect traffic away from a protest march that resulted in scores of arrests after a march on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Baton Rouge police redirect traffic away from a protest march that resulted in scores of arrests after a march on July 10, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others wounded Sunday morning in a shooting at a gas station in Baton Rouge, less than two weeks after a black man was shot and killed by police here.

This story is no longer being updated.

Authorities identified the shooter as Gavin Long, a 29-year-old black man from Kansas City, Mo., who served in the U.S. Marines, including a six-month tour of duty in Iraq. Records show he was divorced in 2011. University of Alabama officials said he attended school there for one semester in 2012.

Law enforcement officers converged on a house associated with him in Kansas City, Missouri hours after the shootings. The small turquoise frame house with a front porch is in a lower income neighborhood in the southern part of the city.

Authorities initially believed two other suspected shooters might still be at large but police later determined Long was the only shooter and that he was killed by officers at the scene. They said, however, that they were investigating if there was anyone else who helped him vary out the attack.

Major Doug Cain said Sunday, "we are not ready to say he acted alone."

Cain says two people had been detained in another town called Addis, which is nearBaton Rouge, and called them "persons of interests."

It's unclear whether there is any connection between Sunday's attack in Baton Rouge and the recent attack that killed five officers in Dallas.

The shooting began just before 9 a.m., at a gas station on Airline Highway, less than 1 mile from police headquarters, police said. The slain shooter's body was next door, outside a fitness center. Police said they used a specialized robot to check for explosives near the body.


Take Two will discuss the Baton Rouge police shooting on Monday, July 18, starting at 9 a.m.


The shooting was the fourth high-profile deadly encounter in the United States — and second in Baton Rouge — involving police over the past two weeks. The violence has left 12 people dead, including eight police officers, and sparked a national conversation over race and policing.

The races of the suspects and the officers in Sunday's shooting were not immediately known.

Gov. John Bel Edwards rushed to the hospital where the shot officers were taken.

"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.

On Sunday afternoon, more than a dozen police cars with lights flashing were massed near a commercial area of car dealerships and chain restaurants on Airline Highway, not far from police headquarters. Police armed with long guns stopped at least two vehicles driving away from the scene and checked their trunks.

That area was about a quarter of a mile from a gas station where almost nightly protests had been taking place against the recent police shooting.

Five law enforcement officers were rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Ashley Mendoza said. Of the two who survived the shooting, one was in critical condition and the other was in fair condition. Multiple police vehicles were station at the hospital and a police officer with a long gun was blocking the parking lot at the emergency room.

One officer was sent to Baton Rouge General Medical Center and was being treated for "non-life-threatening injuries," said spokeswoman Meghan Parrish.

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

President Barack Obama says he condemns, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge.

Obama says the attacks on police officers, the second in two weeks, are "attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop."

 

He also called on Americans to lower avoid "overheated" rhetoric and focus on unifying words. Obama said the U.S. doesn't need "careless accusations" intended to score points but should instead try to "temper our words."

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 July 5 after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on widely circulated cellphone video.

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. The next day, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Thousands of people have protested Sterling's death and Baton Rouge police arrested more than 200 demonstrators.

Michelle Rogers, 56, said Sunday 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."