Baton Rouge Shooter "Intentionally Targeted And Assassinated" Police, Officials Say
Reporting by Ema O'Connor, Talal Ansari, Mary Ann Georgantopoulos, and Tom Namako in New York; Claudia Koerner and Adolfo Flores in Los Angeles; and Michelle Broder Van Dyke in Honolulu.
What We Know So Far
- Three police officers were fatally shot in Baton Rouge Sunday after a person dressed in black opened fire on them with a large rifle.
- Three other officers were injured, and one is "absolutely fighting for his life," Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
- Gavin Long, 29, a Kansas City resident and Marine veteran who served in Iraq, was identified as the shooter. In his vast online presence, he described himself as someone upset with the police killing black men, a life guru, and a person concerned with surveillance. Read more about him here.
- Long targeted and ambushed the officers, a spokesman for the Louisiana State Police told the New York Times.
- Two "persons of interest" were released from custody without charges Sunday night, but the investigation was ongoing into whether Long had help from anyone.
- The Baton Rouge mayor called the shooting an "ambush" — but that could not be independently verified.
- President Obama called on Americans to tone down divisive political rhetoric.
- "As of right now we don't know the motive of the killer. We don't know whether the killer set out to target police officer or whether he gunned them down as they responded to a call," Obama said.
- The shooting comes after police fatally shot Alton Sterling earlier this month, leading to tense protests against the police.
Police release images of the shooter during the attack
On Monday, the Louisiana State Police released images from a video that show the shooter during the attack.
Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson said "officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated" and that they were working to build a timeline for the suspect before the attack on Sunday morning.
Edmonson said the shooter had been in Baton Rouge for several days and wanted to know where he had been and who he had associated with in order to determine if anyone had prior knowledge of the attack.
Police said they recovered three guns in the attack.
Above is a Stag Arms M4 Variant 5.56 caliber rifle that was staged at the vehicle, a IWI Tavor SAR 5.56 caliber rifle, and a Springfield 9mm caliber pistol.
Police also said they recovered a Chevy Malibu rental that was from Missouri, which is currently being processed to determine where the car has been.
–Michelle Broder Van Dyke
Obama offers condolences and orders flags to be flown at half-staff
The President released a statement through Press Secretary Josh Earnest, saying that Obama had called those impacted by the fatal shooting in Baton Rouge to offer condolences. The statement said he called the police chief and sheriff as well as the families of the officers killed in the attack.
Earlier today, the President placed telephone calls to Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, III to offer his condolences to the men and women of the departments they lead, and support for the ongoing investigation. He also placed calls to the families of Officer Matthew Gerald, Officer Montrell Jackson, and Deputy Sheriff Brad Garafola to offer his and the First Lady's condolences on behalf of the country for the loss of their loved ones.
Obama also signed a proclamation Monday that ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House, all public buildings, military locations, and embassies on Friday.
–Michelle Broder Van Dyke
Sahib Taylor, who claims to be Long's nephew, says "violence is not the answer"
Sahib Taylor, a 22-year-old who told BuzzFeed News he is Gavin Long's nephew, said he prays that his uncle's actions are not used as an "inspiration" or an "invitation" to "hate more, to fight more," and "to kill more."
"That's not the answer," Taylor added, "Violence is not the answer. More violence is not the answer or a answer. It is love. It is divine love. It is oneness. It is unity, not separateness."
Louisiana governor calls shooting "a diabolical attack on the very fabric of society"
At a news conference Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards called the shooting that killed three officers "pure, unadulterated evil."
"This is not what justice looks like," he said. "It's not justice for Alton Sterling or anything else that's happened in this state or anywhere else."
State Police Col. Mike Edmonson also told reporters that the officers were targeted in the attack.
"There's no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated," he said.
"It was a calculated act against those who worked to protect this community every single day," Edmonson added, pointing to screen grabs of surveillance video showing the shooter, Gavin Long. "That, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, is the shooter, and you'll see that his movements are articulated, they're intact, they're combative and they're real."
While police believe Long was the only shooter at the scene, they are still looking at who he may have been associated with or had advance knowledge of his intentions.
The weapon that Long used to kill the officers was a 5.56 caliber rifle, Edmonson said.
"That strap kept that rifle in place so when he engaged those police officers they were deliberate and extremely accurate," he said.
Edmonson said authorities were determining the ownership history of the three guns that were recovered from Long.
Baton Rouge Chief of Police Carl Dabadie said that one of the officers injured in the attack was in "very critical condition." The deputy, who was shot in the head and the stomach is "fighting for his life," Dabadie added.
Another sergeant sustained non-life threatening injuries and would be undergoing "one of many surgeries" Monday evening.
"They were ambushed by a man who was clearly targeting law enforcement," Dabadie said.
Dabadie also defended the force's "militarized tactics," saying the shot that the SWAT team made to neutralize Long was "a hell of a shot, but it had to be made."
"As several have said, this guy was going to another location," Dabadie said. "He was not going to stop here. After he was finished here I have no doubt he was heading to our headquarters and he was going to take more lives," he said.
"Our militarized tactics as they're being called saved lives here. That shot that our SWAT team made was a hell of a shot but it had to be made. We had to neutralize the threat right there. We could not let it go any further."
State police said the shooter was in Baton Rouge for at least 3-4 days
Officials say shooter "ambushed" police officers
Louisiana officials said on Monday that Gavin Long "was targeting officers," according to the New York Times.
"Our preliminary investigation shows that he definitely ambushed those officers," Lt. J.B. Slaton, a public affairs commander for the Louisiana State Police, told the Times. "We are still trying to find out what his motive was, and that's going to be part of our investigation. But we believe he was targeting those officers."
—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos
Two "persons of interest" released from custody without charges
Louisiana State Police announced Sunday night that two people taken into custody in connection with the shooting had been released.
The two people from the town of Addis, Louisiana, had been questioned about the shooting and gunman Gavin Long. No charges were filed against them Sunday night.
The investigation is ongoing, a police spokesman told the Associated Press, and authorities are still working to determine if Long had any direct or indirect help from anyone.
— Claudia Koerner
The three police officers killed in the Baton Rouge attack were all fathers
Three police officers were killed and three were injured in a shooting in Baton Rouge on Sunday. The Baton Rouge Police Department identified two of them as Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, and Officer Matthew Gerald, 41.
"Both of these men were assigned to the Uniform Patrol Bureau and were great examples of what it means to protect and serve — a mission they demonstrated through their work at the department and in their daily lives," the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a statement.
Brad Garafola, a 45-year-old with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, was identified as the third person killed.
—Michelle Broder Van Dyke
Dispatcher call reveals moments in which officers tried to discover source of gunfire
An audio recording released by the Baton Rouge Police Department on Sunday details the frantic moments from the first sight of the shooter to the rescue of a downed officer.
As the recording begins, one police office reports seeing the "subject walking with a coat and an assault rifle" along the highway near a hair salon. But then moments later, the officer is distraught calling out for help.
"Shots fired officer down! Shots fired officer down. Got a city officer down! Shots fire! Shots fired. I don't know where the shootings is from," an officer can be heard saying.
He continues his call for help: "Shots fired officer down behind the Hair crown. Unknown where the subject is shooting from."
Calls then go out to other officers to assist "anyone in route?"
Moments later the officer tells dispatch: "We do not have a 20 on the shooter," meaning they do not know his location. "Possible sniper," the officer adds.
Three and half minutes into the dispatch, calls go out to bring the police's armored vehicle: "We need the BearCat."
The suspect at that time was still shooting at Benny's Car wash, police report. And then seconds later, the initial reporting officer cries out "I'm hit. Left arm."
Six minutes into the call, dispatch warns all officers "units be advised the suspect is still shooting."
Additional calls for an "officer down" come in as shots are still being fired as well as frantic calls for the "BearCat" to be brought to the back of the Hair Crown to get the shot officer "out of here."
And 12 minutes in, police reveal the "the shooter is not known" but a witness told them he was wearing all black and carrying an "AR."
Cops said when they pulled up the suspect had a mask on. And a witness told them they saw a suspect wearing all black carrying an "AR."
Biden Condemns "Targeted Attack" On Police
I join President Obama in strongly condemning today's targeted attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge that killed three police officers and wounded three others. It's despicable. It's cowardly. And it's an attack on our very way of life and rule of law.—Tom Namako
Like thousands of other law enforcement officers who got up this morning, the officers killed and wounded were sworn to protect their community. And they responded. They responded to help. And every time they responded to help they knew they were putting themselves in danger. Police officers are an incredible group of men and women. We owe them our gratitude and a commitment not to let others divide us. That's not who they were, that's not who they are.
My heart goes out to the families. And my enduring thanks to all those police officers who are protecting us as we speak. We owe them.
May God bless the fallen, their families, and their brothers and sisters in uniform.
Gavin Long, 29, a Kansas City resident and Marine veteran who served in Iraq, was identified as the shooter. In his vast online presence, he described himself as being upset with the police killing black men, a life guru, and a person concerned with government surveillance. Read more about him here.
Alton Sterling's Family Pleads With Americans To "Stop This Killing"
In a short and highly emotional interview with WVLA, Veda Washington Abusaleh, the aunt of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police officers in early July, said repeatedly that more violence was not the answer.
"We don't call for no blood shed," Abusaleh said emphatically before bursting into tears. "That's how this all started, with bloodshed. We don't want no more blood shed."
A video of a police officer killing 37-year-old Alton Sterling outside of a convenience store, quickly followed by another video of a white officer killing a black man at a routine traffic stop, began a series of Black Lives Matter protests around the country. At a peaceful protest in Dallas, a single shooter shot 12 police officers, killing five.
"When these people call these families and tell them that their daddies and their mamas not coming home no more, I know how they feel, because I got the same phone call," Abusaleh said, as a man stood behind her nodding, his hands comfortingly placed on her shoulders.
"No justice, no peace. That's what we're calling for," she concluded. "Stop this killing. Stop this killing."
Here's more coverage on the Baton Rouge shootings
President Obama Says Nation Needs To "Temper" Its Political Rhetoric
President Obama during a press conference Friday called on the nation to show its best self in unity and not let acts of violence divide the country.
Last week "I said that [the Dallas shooter] wouldn't be the last person to try and make us turn on each other," Obama said. "Neither will this one."
The president said it's on each American to "now focus on words and actions that can unite us rather than divide us further."
"We have our divisions and those are not new," he said.
Obama said that as the country enters the Republican National Convention and then the Democratic National Convention — where "political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual" — people "need to temper our words and open our hearts."
"It's up to all of us to make sure we're part of the solution and not part of the problem," he said.
"Only we can prove through words and through deeds that we cannot be divided and we're going to need to keep on doing it again and again and again."
—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos
Hillary Clinton Called The Attack A "Devastating Assault"
Police: Lone Shooter Was Shot And Killed On Scene, No Active Shooter Scenario
In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said the sole suspect in the shooting was shot and killed by police on the scene and was acting alone.
Despite reports of an ongoing manhunt, police said the sole suspect was shot killed within minutes, and that there is no active shooter situation. An investigation into the incident remains ongoing, police said.
At around 8:40 a.m. Baton Rouge police officers at a convenience store observed an individual wearing all black standing behind a beauty supply store holding a rifle, police said. At 8:42 reports were received of shots fired and by 8:44 at least one officer was down at the scene. At 8:45 more shots were fired and reports were received that the subject had moved to a nearby convenience store. About two minutes later emergency medical services arrived at the scene to aid wounded officers. Within that time the subject was shot and killed at the scene.
Other agencies rushed to join Baton Rouge Police at the scene, and to ensure the suspect shot down was the sole shooter, state police said.
Baton Rouge authorities gave the ages and years of experience of each of the officers shot.
Three officers from the Baton Rouge police department were shot, Dabadie said. One 31-year-old police officer with 10 years of experience and one 41-year-old with just under one year of service were killed. A third police officer, also 41 years old, sustained non–life threatening injuries. He has nine years of service under his belt.
Next, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office made an announcement about his men injured and killed in the shooting: One 45-year-old officer died, one 41-year-old is in critical condition, and one 51-year-old was wounded with non–life threatening injuries, and is currently in surgery.
All of East Baton Rouge Sheriff's officers were married with families, Gautreaux said, asking for the world to join him and the families of the victims in prayer.
"To me, this is not so much about gun control as it is about what's in a man's heart," Gautreaux said. "Until we come together as a nation, as a people, to heal as a people... If we don't do that, and this madness continues, we will surely perish as a people."
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said that during times like these, we must "look ahead" and "let peace prevail."
"The [law enforcement] agencies you see here have always been partners with the state police," Holden said. "We are one family all seeking justice for all of our people … We ask you all for your prayers."
Louisiana law enforcement officials will not give their next update on the event until 1 p.m. on Monday.
Watch the full press conference below:
Police: Two "Persons Of Interest" Arrested
A police spokesman told the Associated Press that two "persons of interest" have been arrested near Baton Rouge, and that while the suspect who is dead is the sole shooter they are "not ready to say" he acted alone.
President Obama Will Deliver A Statement At 4:30 p.m.: White House
Loretta Lynch says there's no place for this "appalling violence" in the United States
Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemned Sunday's shootings adding that the Department of Justice will provide federal funding support and victim services as well as investigative assistance.
"For the second time in two weeks, multiple law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty," she said in a statement." There is no place in the United States for such appalling violence, and I condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms. I pledge the full support of the Department of Justice as the investigation unfolds. Our hearts and prayers are with the fallen and wounded officers, their families, and the entire Baton Rouge community in this extraordinarily difficult time."
—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos
Ohio governor won't ban open carry weapons during RNC
In response to the president of the Cleveland Police Union calling for a ban on open carry weapons during the Republican National Convention, John Kasich's office said the Ohio governor does not have the legal authority to do so.
"Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested," Kasich's spokesperson said in a statement to the New York Times. "The bonds between our communities and police must be reset and rebuilt – as we're doing in Ohio – so our communities and officers can both be safe. Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal."
—Mary Ann Georgantopoulos
Obama Condemns Attack
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.
Two Men Detained In Nearby Town
Two men dressed in all black entered a Walmart in the nearby city of Port Allen, walked out in different clothes, and got into a silver Nissan with a Texas license plate, police told WAFB.
A witness called 911 and the two men were stopped by Louisiana police nearby. The car was towed by police and the two men were taken to state police headquarters for questioning.
Donald Trump Says the U.S. Is "Divided And Out Of Control"
Presumptive Republican nominee for president Donald Trump said Sunday that the U.S. is "divided and out of control."
"We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today. How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order," he said on Facebook.
He later followed up on Twitter, "We are TRYING to fight ISIS, and now our own people are killing our police. Our country is divided and out of control. The world is watching." —Tom Namako
Injured Officer Sent to Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Rebekah Maricelli, a spokeswoman for the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, said they did receive one officer with non-life-threatening injuries.
Earlier, a spokesperson with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, another hospital in the Baton Rouge area, told BuzzFeed News the hospital had received a total of five patients, all of whom were referred to as "law enforcement professionals."
"Three are deceased, one is in critical condition, one is in fair condition," the spokesperson said.
Shooting Began Between Two Civilians Before Police Arrived: Witness
Several witnesses are reporting conflicting information.
Witness Brady Vancel told WAFB that he saw two men shooting at each other near the gas station before police showed up, suggesting that the shooting was possibly not a police ambush.
Vancel said he heard multiple gunshots then saw one person lying on the ground and another carrying an assault rifle before he ducked into a nearby house for safety. He said he heard more gunshots after police arrived on the scene as well.
One witness in a Facebook Live video described the shooters as "military" and said they looked "like a ninja." Vancel said he did not agree with this description.
Witness Said Shooter Was Dressed "Like A Ninja"
"I'm nervous," the woman said in the video first aired by WAFB.
"This man is shooting at the police," she said. "He has a mask on looking like a ninja."
She also mentioned a "sniper rifle."
"I don't know who this man is," she said. "He's about to start popping again."
Cleveland Police Union President Calls For Ban On All Open Carry Weapons During RNC
The president of the Cleveland Police Union is calling for the governor of Ohio to ban all open carry weapons during the week of the Republican National Convention.
"We are asking for him to take emergency action to ban any open carry weapons in Cuyahoga [County]," said union president Steve Loomis. "Anybody that has an open carry gun, we are going to look at and we are going to look at them very, very hard."
Loomis blamed the president and media coverage for the shootings of police in Dallas and now Baton Rouge. He said the media and people with influence like celebrities have been making "irresponsible" and "evil" statements about law enforcement.
"The president of the United States has blood on his hands and it will not be able to be washed off," Loomis. "How the hell did we become the bad guys in this country?"
Louisiana Recently Passed A Law Making It A Hate Crime to Attack Police Officers
In May, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill that would expand existing hate crime laws to include attacks on people who are, or even perceived to be, a "law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel."
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who is the son of a sheriff, signed the "Blue Lives Matter" bill into law, making it the first state to do so.
"The men and women who put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances are true heroes and they deserve every protection that we can give them," Gov. Edwards said in a statement.
"They serve and protect our communities and our families. The overarching message is that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Louisiana," he added.
The new law will give prosecutors the chance to charge suspects who are convicted of intentionally targeting those newly classified personnel with more severe penalties.
CNN reported that it "could mean up to five more years in prison with hard labor and a $5,000 fine for felonies such as murder, assault and battery, rape, etc. For a misdemeanor, it could be another six months in prison and a $500 fine."
The law did not go by without some criticism, though it did easily pass the state House and Senate.
Before the vote, the Anti-Defamation League, opposed the "Blue Lives Matter" bill saying "hate crimes laws should remain limited to immutable characteristics, those qualities that can or should not be changed."
In the statement, Allison Padilla-Goodman, ADL Regional Director said:
Hate Crimes are designed to protect people's most precious identity categories—their "immutable characteristics" like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, and gender identity. Proving the bias intent is very different for these categories as it is for the bias intent of a crime against a law enforcement officer—and adding professional categories to the current Hate Crimes statute deters efforts from protecting against identity-based crimes.
In a meeting at the White House with eight law enforcement groups last Monday, President Obama reportedly said he considered the July 7 killing of five Dallas police officers a "hate crime."
— Talal Ansari
Dallas Mayor Reacts To Baton Rouge Shooting: "This Must Stop"
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who just days ago saw five police officers killed in an ambush, said in a Facebook post Sunday that "this must stop."
Reports out of Baton Rouge this morning of three officers killed and others wounded are deeply disturbing. This must stop. Violence against our police officers under any circumstances is not acceptable and poses a grave threat to all of us. Those peacefully protesting police across the country must swiftly condemn this type of violence against law enforcement.
Witness Video Reportedly Captures Gunshots Fired At Officers
Witnesses Share Pictures And Videos Of Shootings
The shooting occurred as many Baton Rouge citizens were heading to Sunday church services in the area. Many found themselves blocked from their churches by police.
Some stood outside stores at a nearby strip mall and watched the shootout from afar.
People in the area parked their cars and watched as Baton Rouge police, federal agents, and SWAT teams poured into the area in buses, vans, and helicopters.
One man stayed a safe distance from the shootout, but caught footage of police patrolling the area.
Officers guarded the nearby hospital where victims of the shooting were being cared for.
Passing drivers brought the officers drinks to keep them refreshed as they stood guard in the 90° heat.
— Ema O'Connor
Baton Rouge Mayor Said Officers Were Killed in "Ambush Style Deal"
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said the officers who were killed Sunday morning were ambushed after responding to reports of shots fired.
"It was like an ambush style deal. We responded to a call and there's this jerk firing on our police officers." Holden told MSNBC.
Holden said the initial call police officers were responding to was shots fired.
"Whenever an officer hears those words, those two words, the response is immediate," Holden said. "Everybody in the area goes to the scene, tries to take the position of safety, but unfortunately even in a position they thought was safe today did not turn out to be safe."
President Obama Briefed On Attack
Obama was briefed and asked to be updated throughout the day as more details become available, a White House official said, adding the White House has been in contact with local officials in Baton Rouge and offered any assistance necessary. —Tom Namako
Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator React To Attacks
State Police Say Two Suspects Are On The Loose
Three law enforcement are confirmed dead, three others injured. One suspect is dead, law enforcement believes two others may be at large. Asking the public if they see anything suspicious please call 911 immediately.
At approximately 9:00 this morning Baton Rouge Police officers and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies were involved in a shooting incident on Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway. Multiple officers from both agencies sustained injuries and were transported to local hospitals.
Please be advised Airline Highway both lanes is currently shut down from Goodwood to Old Hammond. Old Hammond is closed to Tara Boulevard. At this point in time the scene is still active. We are advising the public to please take an alternate route and steer clear of the area. Those in the area are asked to remain indoors and contact law enforcement immediately if they see anything suspicious.
Hospital Spokeswoman Said Three "Law Enforcement Professionals" Deceased
Kelly Zimmerman, a hospital spokeswoman for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, said they received a total of five patients, all of whom were referred to as "law enforcement professionals."
"Three are deceased, one is in critical condition, one is in fair condition," Zimmerman said.
Nearby Churches Close Their Doors, Keeping Congregants Inside
A man in First Church of the Nazarene, who asked not to be named, said that their church service was supposed to begin just a half hour after the shooting occurred.
A few early bird members of the congregation had already arrived when the highway outside began crawling with police, he said. The church quickly closed its doors and those present remained inside, listening to sirens and watching cop cars line up outside.
"We don't really know what's going on, we're just sitting here in the church watching what's going on around us," the man said. "We're all okay though."
Police Spokesman Says There Are "Multiple Suspects"
Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L'Jean McKneely said in a press conference that "we believe there are multiple suspects, we believe one suspect is deceased." He confirmed three officers were dead.
"There was no talking, he was shooting," he said of one of the shooters, who he said were dressed in black.
He said police are "making sure there aren't any explosives in the area" and that police are "sending our robot in to make sure he doens't have any explosives on him."
One of the shooters opened fire in a convenience store, he added. —Tom Namako
Local Hospital On Lockdown
"We did not we have any injured coming to our two campuses. But both campuses are on lockdown for the safety of guests, patients, and staff. We're keeping them in our thoughts and prayers at this time," said Rebekah Maricelli, public information officer for the Baton Rouge General Medical Center.
BuzzFeed News' original report is below:
Several police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, Sgt. Don Coppola told WFAB, a local TV affiliate.
Several news outlets, including CBS News and CNN, are reporting at either two or three officers are dead and that seven in total were shot around 9 a.m. local time. BuzzFeed News was unable to confirm those figures.
Coppola said on WFAB that the "scene we feel at this point in time is contained" — meaning the shooter was likely no longer on the loose. But other outlets are reporting it's still an "active" scene.
He didn't know the extent of the injuries, and said some members of the sheriff's department may have been injured.
Trooper Ross of the Louisiana State Police Troop A in Baton Rouge told BuzzFeed news that two officers are down and one suspect is down, though he would not clarify what "down" meant.
An employee at Albertsons, a grocery store in a small strip mall across the highway from where the shooting took place, said that no one in the store realized what had happened until a customer came in and told them that shots had been fired on the other side of the high way.
“By that time a lot of police cars were there already,” the employee, who asked to not be named, told BuzzFeed News. He said the police came in shortly after and asked them to keep everyone in the store. They have been on lockdown for around 30 minutes, but that most people have “stayed pretty calm,” he said.
Ashslia Jolivette, 28, who works at the Rende’s Quick Stop said she was smoking a cigarette outside the convenient store when the shooting began. Jolivette believes the shooting occurred across the highway near the Party City and Dodge dealership.
“It sounded close. I was outside smoking when it happened and I took off running. I came in and locked the door. I just stayed in the store.”
This witness posted a video to Instagram of the scene, saying there was a person on the ground:
The shooting, near the intersection of Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway, brought on a massive police response:
The reported shooting comes after police fatally shot Alton Sterling earlier in July, leading to tense protests against police.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.