Updating with details from news conference… Cable news networks today are covering yet another horrific shooting incident. Three police officers were killed and three others wounded in Baton Rouge, LA, early this morning when they were shot less than a mile from police headquarters. One suspect, who was armed with an assault rifle and wearing a mask and black fatigues, was killed in a shootout. Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said in a news conference that officials believe he was “the person who shot our officers.”
Edmonson said two of the dead officers were from the Baton Rouge Police Department and the other from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Department and that another deputy is in critical condition following surgery. Two other officers suffered “non-life-threatening injuries.”
The city has been the scene of protests since the July 5 shooting of a black man by white officers after a confrontation, but Baton Rogue Police Department said at about 1:15 pm local time that they do not believe today’s attack was race-related.
“I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge,” President Obama said in a statement this afternoon. Read his full statement below.
Four people were arrested last week in Baton Rogue in an alleged plot to kill police officers. In May, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that classified attacks on police as a hate crime.
The scene this morning has been “contained,” Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola told the Associated Press. There are few details available, but local media reported sources saying police were responding to a shots-fired call at 8:40 AM local time when they can under fire. A witness told CNN that they are still in lockdown in the area. Police are urging the public to help in locating any additional suspects.
Today’s attack comes 10 days after five officers were killed and nine injured in a sniper attack in Dallas.
Here is Obama’s full statement:
I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.
I’ve offered my full support, and the full support of the federal government, to Governor Edwards, Mayor Holden, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Baton Rouge Police Department. And make no mistake – justice will be done.
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. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.
Today, on the Lord’s day, all of us stand united in prayer with the people of Baton Rouge, with the police officers who’ve been wounded, and with the grieving families of the fallen. May God bless them all.
Many in the media and entertainment industries took to Twitter to express sadness, outrage and frustration. Among them is former CNN anchor Piers Morgan, who was been outspoken proponent of gun control: