Three police officers have been shot dead in Baton Rouge, La., and three others were wounded, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post.
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux III said one gunman was shot dead, but that two other suspects may be at large.
“At this point in time the scene is still active,” he said. “We are advising the public to please take an alternate route and steer clear of the area.”
A sheriff’s spokesman, Casey Rayborn Hicks, urged issued a statement asking the public to report anything suspicious in the area to 911.
Two Baton Rouge police officers and one East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy are dead, according to WBRZ-TV and The Advocate newspaper.
“They are investigating,” Baton Route Mayor Kip Holden told MSNBC. “Right now we are trying to get our arms around everything.”
Kelly Zimmerman of Our Lady of the Lake said the hospital received five patients. Three were dead, one is in critical condition and the other is in fair condition, Zimmerman said.
As authorities continued to investigate the shootings less than a mile from police headquarters, Both lanes of Airline Highway was shut down from Goodwood to Old Hammond. Old Hammond is closed to Tara Boulevard.
“Rest assured, every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a tweet that called the attack unspeakable and unjustified.
Corporal L’Jean Mckneely Jr., spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department, said officers secured the area around the suspect and sent a robot device in after the shooting, “making sure there aren’t any explosives in the area.
“So we’re taking every precaution necessary to make sure that all our lives are safe,” he said.
Officers responding initially to a call did exchange gunfire with the suspect, who has not been identified, Mckneely said.
“There was no talking. There was shooting,” he said.
The scene is still active, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks told The Advocate.
About 20 police officers wearing bulletproof vests are near the scene and a helicopter was flying overhead, the paper reported.
Kyle Suire, owner of the Jambalaya Shoppe restaurant says “they have 200 cop in our parking lot.” And “they’ve got everything on lockdown.” He says he arrived too late this morning to see what happened. “I saw all the cops rushing in.”
The Baton Rouge mayor’s office urged people to stay home, stay off the streets for now in immediate wake of police shooting, according to The Advocate.
A witness told WBRZ-TV that a man was dressed in black with his face covered was shooting indiscriminately when he walked out between a convenience store and car wash across from Hammond Air Plaza. Police closed the streets between the police department’s headquarters and Interstate 12.
Michael Vinsanau of WBRZ tweeted that more than a dozen marked and unmarked police cars sped to the scene, and that a SWAT team was on location. State police armed with rifles are posted blocks away, Vinsanau tweeted.
Baton Rouge police have been under scrutiny after officers fatally shot Alton Sterling, 37, on July 5 while he was pinned to the ground. Sterling was black and the officers involved were white. Sterling’s funeral was Friday. Police have said they thought he was reaching for a gun.