Houston/Baton Rouge | A gunman killed at least three police officers and injured three others in the US city of Baton Rouge before being shot dead, the latest gun violence incident to rock the country. The motive of the shooting was not known but comes amid spiralling tensions across the city and the country between the black community and police amid the ambush on Dallas police officers where a sniper killed five officers. Officials confirmed that three law enforcement officers died while three others were wounded during an early morning shooting yesterday on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over a kilometre away from police headquarters.
The city was on high alert, officials said. One shooter is dead, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. The deceased shooter has been identified as 29-year-old Gavin Long, who appeared to have attacked police officers on his birthday, they said. Authorities initially believed that two other assailants might be at large, but hours later said that no other active shooters were in the city. The dead suspect in the Baton Rouge shooting was wearing all black and was wearing a mask, Baton Rouge Police Department Sgt. Don Coppola said. Coppola said he did not know what the mask looked like, but that it was some type of mask to conceal (the shooter’s) identity. It’s my understanding that they (the officers) had responded to an initial shooting incident, Hicks said.
A witness told WBRZ-TV that a man, dressed in black with his face covered, was shooting indiscriminately when he walked out between a convenience store and car wash. Police received a call of suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle, a source said, adding that when police arrived, the man opened fire. President Barack Obama condemned the incident as a cowardly act.
For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for hours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault, Obama said in a statement. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law and on civilised society, and they have to stop, he said. 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, Obama said.
Reacting to the shootings, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in a statement posted on his Twitter and Facebook pages that, We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge. 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. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called Baton Rouge shooting an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us.