'Baton Rouge Needs Your Prayers' — Three Police Officers Dead, Three More Wounded, One Critically | KCUR

'Baton Rouge Needs Your Prayers' — Three Police Officers Dead, Three More Wounded, One Critically

Jul 17, 2016
Originally published on July 18, 2016 12:32 pm

This is a developing situation, in which many reports may turn out to be wrong. Reporters and editors make every attempt to ensure the viability and accuracy of information, focusing on official sources and corroboration. This story will be continuously updated.

11:00 a.m. CT Monday July 18 - Governor John Bel Edwards will hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. to provide updates on the shooting of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. He will be joined by Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson and other officials. WWNO and NPR reporters are on the scene. 

8:30 p.m. CT - Suspected gunman confirmed as Gavin Eugene Long, a former Marine. 

City of Baton Rouge says Airline Highway (from I-12 to Old Hammond Highway) and Old Hammond Highway (from Airline Highway to Tara Blvd.) have both been re-opened to the traveling public.

Officials confirm the officers killed were Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola.

Baton Rouge Police have launched a hotline for tips regarding details on the shooting. They ask that anyone with information that may aid in their investigation call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). 

5:08 p.m. CT - The Louisiana State Police has issued an official timeline of this morning's shooting and police response.

• At approx 0840 AM, Baton Rouge Police Department officers at a convenience store observed an individual wearing all black standing behind a beauty supply store holding a rifle

• At approx 0842 AM reports were received of shots fired

• At approx 0844 AM reports were received of officers down on the scene

• At approx 0845 AM reports were received of more shots fired

• At approx 0846 AM reports were received of the suspect wearing all black standing near a car wash located near the convenience store / East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office deputies reported that officers were hit

• At approx 0848 AM EMS began staging at the scene to render aid

• Officers engaged the subject, and he ultimately died at the scene

• LSP and multiple agencies responded to the scene in an attempt to secure the area and identify possible potential suspects and further threats in the area.

President Obama addressed the nation regarding the shootings in Baton Rouge. His full remarks:

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

ON THE SHOOTINGS IN BATON ROUGE, LOUSIANA

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

5:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  As all of you know now, this morning, three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge were killed in the line of duty.  Three others were wounded.  One is still in critical condition.

 

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 officers, or whether he gunned them down as they responded to a call.  Regardless of motive, the death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day.  And we as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement.  Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible.

 

Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with Governor Edwards and Mayor Holden, and I offered them the full support of the federal government and reiterated my full support for law enforcement in Baton Rouge and for police officers across the country.  I also spoke to the Attorney General, and the FBI has already been on the scene.  And through the work of all levels of government, justice will be done.

 

Most of all, our hearts go out to the families who are grieving.  Our prayers go out to the officer who is still fighting for his life.  This has happened far too often.  And I’ve spent a lot of time with law enforcement this past week.  I’m surrounded by the best of the best every single day.  And I know whenever this happens, wherever this happens, you feel it.  Your families feel it.  But what I want you to know today is the respect and the gratitude of the American people for everything that you do for us.

 

Five days ago, I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there.  I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other.  Nor will today’s killer.  It remains up to us to make sure that they fail.  That decision is all of ours.  The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst -- that’s up to us.

 

We have our divisions, and they are not new.  Around-the-clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, and I know we’re about to enter a couple of weeks of conventions where our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual.

 

And that is why it is so important that everyone -- regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you are a part of -- everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.  We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric.  We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.  We need to temper our words and open our hearts -- all of us.  We need what we saw in Dallas this week, as a community came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding.  We need the kind of efforts we saw this week in meetings between community leaders and police -- some of which I participated in -- where I saw people of good will pledge to work together to reduce violence throughout all of our communities.  That’s what’s needed right now.  And it is up to all of us to make sure we are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

 

Someone once wrote, “A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work we need to be reminded of its existence again and again and again.”

 

My fellow Americans, only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided.  And we’re going to have to keep on doing it “again and again and again.”  That’s how this country gets united.  That’s how we bring people of good will together.  Only we can prove that we have the grace and the character and the common humanity to end this kind of senseless violence, to reduce fear and mistrust within the American family, to set an example for our children.

 

That’s who we are, and that’s who we always have the capacity to be.  And that’s the best way for us to honor the sacrifice of the brave police officers who were taken from us this morning.

 

May God bless them and their families, and may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much.

4:47 p.m. CT - WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge is reporting one of the Baton Rouge Police Department officers killed today is Matthew Gerald, 41, of Denham Springs.

WWL-TV in New Orleans is reporting another of the BRPD officers killed was Montrell Jackson.

4:07 p.m. CT - "It is so important that everyone, right now, focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further," says President Obama, during a press conference this afternoon. "My fellow Americans, only we can prove, through words and deeds, that we are not divided — and we must do it again and again and again."

He continued: "Only we can prove that we have the grace and the character and the common humanity to stop this senseless violence."

3:58 p.m. CT - CBS News and CNN are is reporting the shooter has been identified as Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, and that today, June 17, is his birthday. We are working to confirm.

The New Orleans Fox affiliate is reporting one of the deceased officers is Montrell Jackson.

3:34 p.m. CT - Baton Rouge police believe they have killed the sole perpetrator in this morning's shooting deaths of three police officers, and the wounding of three more, according to statements given by local and state law enforcement and political leaders at a press conference this afternoon.

"We believe the person who shot and killed our officers is the person who was killed" by police at the scene of the shooting at the B-Quick gas station and market at approximately 8:40 a.m., says Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson.

"We're getting phone calls from around the nation," Edmonson says. "Baton Rouge needs your prayers."

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux says police are working a very large crime scene, and is asking residents to steer clear of the area.

"We believe the person who shot and killed our officers is the person who was killed," Gautreaux says. "As law enforcement, we are a family. But our number-one priority is the safety of our community."

Of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office deputies who were involved in the altercation this morning, a 45-year-old is dead," he says. A 41-year-old is in critical condition, and a 51-year-old remains in surgery with non-life-threatening injuries.

Gautreaux says today is not about gun control, but what is in men’s hearts. "Until we come together as a people to heal as a people — if we don’t do that and this madness continues — we will surely perish," he says.

Baton Rouge city police chief Carl Dabadie says two Baton Rouge city police officers were killed: a 41-year-old officer with less than 1 year of service, and a 32-year-old officer with 10 years of service. Another 41-year-old officer is hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

"Let peace prevail in Baton Rouge and this parish" says Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden. "They are our first responders," says Holden. "We pledge to them and their families we will be their first responders."

Police officers are "real-life, everyday heroes," says Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. "We are doing everything possible to ensure everyone is protected."

"We have to do better," Edwards continued. "The people who carried out this act, they do not represent the people of Baton Rouge or the State of Louisiana."

Officials did not take questions, but said they will hold another press conference on Monday.


  2:33 p.m. CT - The White House has released this pool media report:

This afternoon, the President placed separate telephone calls to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden to hear the latest on the investigation into the shooting of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge. The President pledged any support from the federal government that is needed by local authorities. He also offered his condolences on behalf of the country to the families of the officers who were killed.

2:04 p.m. CT - New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison will provide an update to media following the shooting of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge at 2:15 p.m.

The governor's press conference is being streamed live by the state police here. Scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

The first 45 minutes of the incident, as broadcast over police radios, can be found on this recording from Broadcastify, an online police radio listening website.

1:51 p.m. CT - President Barack Obama has released a statement on today's violence in Baton Rouge:

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.

1:35 p.m. CT - Thunderstorms with heavy rain and lightning are impacting Baton Rouge, with wind gusts up to 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service's New Orleans office.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden told local news the shooting comes at a tense time for the city - just two days after the funeral for Alton Sterling, the black man shot dead by police nearly two weeks ago.

Streets are closed and the area is on lockdown. It’s the site of several large protests over the past week, where several hundred were arrested following Sterling’s death.

 

1:25 p.m. CT - Baton Rouge Police Department public information officer Cpl. L'Jean McKneely confirms at least one suspect is dead at the B Quik on Airline Highway. He says police believe the shootings happened inside and outside of the gas station/convenience store.

"We're sending out robot in to see if there are any explosives in the area," before officers move into the crime scene, McKneely says. Police are notifying injured and deceased officers' families before releasing more detailed information on the number or severity of injuries to police. However, multiple reports are confirming two officers from the Baton Rouge Police Department and one officer from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office are dead.

"We're asking for your assistance, we need your assistance," McKneely says. "We do believe there are other guys involved in this shooting, which is why we're asking the community to help us if they saw anything that looks suspicious — any vehicles that look out of place, any guys that are running in your subdivision, if they have any suspicious in nature that they're wearing, if they're dressed in all black, if they have masks on, guns, please call local law enforcement.

Walt Green, the US Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, which includes Baton Rouge, issued a statement condemning today's shootings and pledging the federal government's support. "Today's attack is truly despicable. We will devote whatever federal law enforcement resources are necessary to ensure that justice is served."

Presidential candidate Donald trump has weighed in:

12:52 p.m. CT - WBRZ-TV and WWL-TV are reporting a fourth police officer has died.

12:34 p.m. CT - Senator Bill Cassidy decries the "senseless violence," says he grieves with officers' families. Political and law enforcement leaders at Our Lady of the Lake hospital to be with family members of the police officers.

12:26 p.m. CT - Reuters is reporting one of the injured officers is in critical condition at a local hospital, one is in fair condition, and the status of the third is still unknown.

Advocate reporter Maya Lau says the shooting scene was at the B-Quik gas station and mini-mart on Airline Highway.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the State Police will hold a press conference at 3 p.m.

12:15 p.m. CT - Reporter Jesse Hardman in on the scene in Baton Rouge.

12:08 p.m. CT"We are monitoring the situation in Baton Rouge," says New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in a prepared statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the police officers who have been targeted in this brazen attack on law enforcement, as well as the entire Baton Rouge community."

11:47 a.m. CT - Advocate reporter Elizabeth Crisp is reporting police are using a robot to search for explosives at the scene of the shooting.

11:42 a.m. CT - Three police officers have been killed in Baton Rouge, and three others injured, according the law enforcement officials.

The shooting happened at approximately 9:00 a.m., about a mile from Baton Rouge police headquarters on Airline highway near the intersection with Old Hammond Highway, according to a statement issued by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. Authorities believe one shooter is dead, and two others remain at large.

Multiple officers sustained injuries, say police, and have been transported to local hospitals.

“This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing," Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement. "Rest assured, every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. 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.”

Airline Highway and Old Hammond Highway are closed in both directions near the scene. Police are asking people in the area to remain indoors and to report anything suspicious they may see.

With reporting by Jesse Hardman in Baton Rouge, and Jason Saul and Tegan Wendland in New Orleans.

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