BATON ROUGE, La. (CBSMiami/AP) — Three law enforcement officers were killed and another three were wounded Sunday morning in a shooting near a gas station in Baton Rouge, less than two weeks after a black man was shot and killed by police here, sparking nightly protests across the city.
Hours later, officials said that suspected gunman Gavin Eugene Long, a former marine, was killed. Sources confirmed to CBS News that the attack occurred on his 29th birthday.
Two other "persons of interest" have been picked up by police, according to The Baton Rouge Advocate.
The shooting — just before 9 a.m., less than a mile from police headquarters — comes amid spiraling tensions across the city — and the country — between the black community and police. The races of the suspects and the officers were not immediately known.
Gov. John Bel Edwards rushed to the hospital where the shot officers were taken.
"Rest assured, every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice," Edwards said in a statement.
The shooting took place at a gas station near a fitness center on Airline Highway, Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L'Jean Mckneely Jr. said. The slain shooter's body was next door, outside a fitness center. Police said they were using a specialized robot to check for explosives near the body.
On Sunday afternoon, more than a dozen police cars with lights flashing were massed near a commercial area of car dealerships and chain restaurants on Airline Highway, not far from police headquarters. Police armed with long guns on the road stopped at least two vehicles driving away from the scene and checked their trunks and vehicles before allowing them to drive away.
That area was about a quarter of a mile from a gas station where almost nightly protests had been taking place against the recent police shooting.
Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola told The Associated Press earlier that the officers were rushed to a local hospital. Coppola said authorities are asking people to stay away from the area.
Multiple police units were stationed at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where spokeswoman Ashley Mendoza said five patients from the police shooting, all "law enforcement professionals" had been taken. A police officer with a long gun was blocking the parking lot at the emergency room. Of the two who survived the shooting, one is in critical condition and the other is in fair condition.
Officers and deputies from the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office were involved, according to Hicks.
Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white officers earlier this month after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet.
It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. Then on Thursday, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.
Over the weekend, thousands of people took to the streets in Baton Rouge to condemn Sterling's death, including hundreds of demonstrators who congregated outside the police station. Authorities arrested about 200 people over the three-day weekend.
Michelle Rogers, 56, said the pastor at her church had led prayers Sunday for Sterling's family and police officers, asking members of the congregation to stand up if they knew an officer.
Rogers said an officer in the congregation hastily left the church near the end of the service, and a pastor announced that "something had happened."
"But he didn't say what. Then we started getting texts about officers down," she said.
Rogers and her husband drove near the scene, but were blocked at an intersection closed down by police.
"I can't explain what brought us here," she said. "We just said a prayer in the car for the families."
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