BATON ROUGE – One East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy and two Baton Rouge Police Department officers were killed during a Sunday morning shooting on Airline Highway near the Hammond Aire Plaza. Three other officers were wounded with one remaining it critical condition.
Authorities have confirmed that the first of three suspects is a Missouri man who was killed after the shooting. Two other suspects were taken into custody in West Baton Rouge Parish and are being questioned by Baton Rouge Police.
Authorities later identified the dead shooter as 29-year-old Gavin Long, of Kansas City, Missouri. Social media posts indicate that Long was an active member of an anti-government group called New Freedom Group. Details about the shooter are still emerging.
A motive has yet to be established that connects the shooting to recent protests in Baton Rouge.
Officers responded to reports of a man armed with an assault rifle at the B-Quik store on Airline Highway near its intersection with Old Hammond Highway at around 9 a.m. Sunday.
Dispatch audio records what happened next as officers were reported down when a man at the scene opened fire, shooting “indiscriminately,” according to a witness at the scene. Several officers were hit and a massive manhunt began in the area as authorities searched for suspects that were described as wearing all black or camouflage clothing.
Police worked an active shooting scene at the B-Quik gas station into the afternoon. Law enforcement confirmed that one of the shooters was dead somewhere close to the store. Police sent a robot into the store to check for explosives after the scene was contained.
An alert went out to the public to stay indoors and contact authorities should they spot any suspicious activity or suspects matching the description provided. Two men were stopped in Addis after someone said they were initially spotted heading into the Port Allen Walmart to change clothes. They were stopped by police on LA-1 South at a gas station where the men were taken into custody. A witness at the scene said the vehicle had Texas plates.
“To me this is not so much about gun control as it is about what’s in men’s hearts,” said EBRSO’s Sid Gautreaux at the beginning of the govenor’s 3 p.m. media event.
Gautreaux confirmed that one of the BRPD officers killed was 41 years old with less than a year of service. The other was a 32-year-old and was a 10 year veteran of the force. The other officer killed was an EBR Sheriff’s deputy. The injured EBRSO deputy is 41 years old, and is currently fighting for his life in critical condition at Baton Rouge General hospital. A 5
LSP’s Col. Mike Edmonson stressed that there is no longer an active shooter situation in Baton Rouge as authorities feel certain that the suspect that was killed was the shooter during the incident. Edmonson said suspicious acitvity should be reported to the toll-free number 1-800-CALL-FBI.
“We believe that the person who shot and killed our officers that he was the person that was shot and killed at the scene,” said Edmonson.
Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke strongly against the hatred he feels is behind the shooting. He declared the state will avail itself of all federal resources needed to bring about justice in the days after the shooting. He called the shooting “an absolutely unspeakable heinous attack.”
“The violent and the hatred has to stop,” said Gov. Edwards. “There simply is no place for more violence. That doesn’t help anyone, it doesn’t further the conversation.”
Leaders of the Baton Rouge religious community held a press conference at 2 p.m. at the Triple S convenience store on North Foster Drive. That store was the site of an officer-involved shooting that left a black man dead in the early morning hours of July 5. Police said they have yet to establish a motive that connects the shootings to recent protests or the death of Alton Sterling. Saturday night saw no protests in connection with that shooting.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting, and the White House has been in contact with Baton Rouge officials at several points throughout the morning. He’ll speak at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
“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,” said a statement from President Obama. “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.”
The names of the officers involved have yet to be released until the families of the victims are notified. One EBRSO deputy at Baton Rouge General hospital was listed in fair condition as of 3 p.m. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark says autopsies will be performed on the deceased officers on Monday.
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