Baton Rouge: Specialised robot used to check for explosives near suspect's body

2016-07-17 20:27
Baton Rouge police officers patrol Airline Highway after 3 police officers were killed. (Sean Gardner, AFP)

Baton Rouge police officers patrol Airline Highway after 3 police officers were killed. (Sean Gardner, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baton Rouge - Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others wounded on Sunday morning in a shooting near a gas station in Baton Rouge, less than two weeks after a black man was shot and killed by police here, sparking nightly protests across the city.

One suspect in the shooting was killed and law enforcement officials believe two others might still be at large, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokesperson for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. The city was on high alert, officials said.

The shooting, just before 09:00 and about 1.6km from police headquarters, comes amid spiralling tensions across the city - and the country - between the black community and police. The races of the suspects and the officers were not immediately known.

Governor 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.

The shooting took place at a gas station near a fitness centre on Airline Highway, Baton Rouge Police's L'Jean Mckneely jnr said. The slain shooter's body was next door, outside a fitness centre. Police said they were using a specialised robot to check for explosives near the body.

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. Police armed with rifles 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.

That area was about 400m from a fuel station where almost nightly protests had been taking place against the recent police shooting.

Baton Rouge police Sergeant Don Coppola told The Associated Press earlier that the officers were rushed to a local hospital. Coppola said authorities are asking people to stay away from the area.

Multiple police units were stationed at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Centre, where spokesperson Ashley Mendoza said five patients from the police shooting, all "law enforcement professionals" had been taken. A police officer with a rifle was blocking the parking lot at the emergency room. Of the two who survived the shooting, one is in critical condition and the other is in fair condition.

Police-community relations tense

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

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 on 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."

Read more on:    us  |  us shooting

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.