3 police officers shot dead in Baton Rouge

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Three police officers have been killed and several others have been injured in an apparent shooting attack near the Baton Rouge Police Department’s headquarters in Louisiana. The suspect – identified as a 29-year-old man from Missouri – was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

The incident began at around 9 a.m. on Sunday when shots were fired in the area of Airline Highway and Old Hammond Highway, which is in the vicinity of the police department’s headquarters. Witnesses reported hearing heavy exchanges of gunfire.

“Three law enforcement are confirmed dead, three others injured,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a statement. The officers killed have been identified as 2 Baton Rouge Police Department officers and an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy. One of the officers injured remains in critical condition and is fighting for his life.

The shooter was identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City in Missouri. Long, a black man, turned 29 on Sunday. Only few details about Long were immediately available, but reports indicated that he was a member of an anti-government group and had used social media to praise the shooting attack on Dallas police officers.

“This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing. Rest assured, every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” Louisiana Governor John Edwards said. “For now, I’m asking all Louisianans to join Donna and me in praying for the officers who were involved and their families as the details continue to unfold.”

According to journalist Pete Williams of NBC News, the current theory is that law enforcement officers were lured to the area by a 911 call.

The shooting attack comes just over a week after a gunman opened fire during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas, killing 5 police officers and injuring nearly a dozen more. The shooter was said to have been angered over the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

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