An exchange of gunfire in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has turned deadly on the morning of July 17, 2016. The shooting was initially referred to as an ambush, and it was reported that approximately seven Baton Rouge police officers were said to have been shot.
Now, Our Lady of the Lake Hospital has confirmed that five Baton Rouge officers were shot. It has been reported that the shooting took place near Airline Hwy and the Hammond Aire shopping center just minutes away from the Baton Rouge Police Headquarters. Apparently, officers were dispatched after receiving a call about a shooting at the shopping center. When they arrived, they became involved in an exchange of gunfire with the assailants. However, the series of events that led to the shooting are still unclear.
Following the shooting, the officers were rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, the home of the city’s only second level trauma center. All of the wounded officers are considered to be gravely injured. However, further details about the condition of the individual officers have not been released as of this writing.
“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,” said a statement from the sheriff’s office.
A manhunt is now underway for a masked assailant. Airline Hwy has been shut down, and all Interstate 12 exits at Airline Hwy have been closed. Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department has released a statement about the shooting, reports WAFB News.
“The scene seems to be contained right now. We’re asking everyone to stay out of the area. I do not have the extent of the injuries. We’re hearing that it may also include some deputies [with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office], but that’s preliminary information and I’m waiting on confirmation.”
State Police SWAT now on scene pic.twitter.com/r3Eni4aODL— Michael Vinsanau (@MVinsanau) July 17, 2016
According to WBRZ News, there is speculation that three suspects were involved in the shooting. One has reportedly been confirmed to be dead, while two are still at large. No further details about the assailants have been released. Although there is a rumor circulating on social media about the assailants being white males, those reports have yet to be confirmed or denied.
BRPD task force unit now at this location pic.twitter.com/qxWiZB3Fsu— Michael Vinsanau (@MVinsanau) July 17, 2016
The shooting of the Baton Rouge police officers follows a string of reports about the highly publicized officer-involved shooting of Alton Sterling. For the past two weeks, the city of Baton Rouge has been at the center of controversy due to allegations of police brutality and unlawful arrests of protesters. The series of events that have unfolded this morning are speculated to be a form of retaliation.
Just days after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both killed, a shooter — identified as Micah Johnson — killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas, during a protest that went terribly wrong. Amid that shooting, numerous protests were taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisana, and other areas of the United States.
Update: 3:25 p.m.
Roads are still blocked off in the Baton Rouge as the search for the suspects continues. There is a possibility that a curfew could be enforced for this evening, but the speculation has yet to be confirmed. Governor John Bel Edwards has now released a statement in the wake of the shooting. Gov. Edwards also visited Our Lady of the Lake to meet with the families of the victims, according to The Advocate.
“This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing,” 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.
More details about the latest shooting of Baton Rouge police officers will be provided as updates are made available.
[Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]