Three police officers shot dead in latest US shooting
THREE police officers have been killed and three others were wounded in a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Police responded to reports of a suspicious person armed with an assault rifle on Sunday morning. When police arrived, the gunman opened fire.
One of the officers is listed as critical and another in fair condition. The status of the third wounded officer is unknown, Reuters reports.
The shooting unfolded at 9am just one mile away from police headquarters in the area of Airline and Old Hammond highways. Roads have been closed off in both directions between Goodwood Boulevard and Interstate 12.
One suspect has been shot and killed by police, and two others may be at large, the East Baton Rouge sheriff's department said. Police used a robot to check for explosives at the scene but it's unclear if a specific threat was made
The suspect who was fatally shot by police was wearing black fatigues, and investigators are trying to determine if the individual was wearing body armor, NBC News reports.
One witness told WBRZ-TV that a man was dressed in black with his face covered began randomly shooting as he walked by a convenience store and car wash.
Mark Clements, who lives near the scene, said he heard the shootout in his backyard. "I heard probably 10 to 12 gunshots go off," Clements told The New York Times. "We heard a bunch of sirens and choppers and everything since then."
President Barack Obama condemned the shooting on Sunday afternoon.
"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," he said. "These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop."
The president added that he's given the full support of the federal government to Governor Edwards, Mayor Holden, and the Baton Rouge Police Department.
"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."
Airline Highway has been the site of protests following the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling on July 5.
Footage of the incident, which showed at least one officer shooting Sterling at point blank range, ignited protests and outrage across the country. The US Justice Department's civil rights division is currently investigating the incident.
In the days following Sterling's death, and another fatal police shooting of a black man in Minnesota, a gunman shot and killed five police officers in Dallas at an anti-police brutality protest.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown offered words of encouragement to Baton Rouge Police Department on Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with Baton Rouge Police.
Last week, police arrested four suspects deemed as a credible threat against law enforcement officials. One 12-year-old suspect was arrested after breaking into a store and stealing eight handguns. A second 17-year-old suspect reportedly said that he wanted to kill police officers.
Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for president, mourned the fallen officers on Sunday.
"We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today," Trump wrote on Facebook. "How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order."