Once again, law enforcement officials have been killed.
This time, it is three officials in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, days after the killing on July 7 of five Dallas police officers at a rally. Three other officers are being treated for wounds, one in critical condition, following the shootings on Sunday morning. One suspect also has been killed, authorities said.
The dead suspect was wearing all black and had been carrying a rifle, police said. Authorities said that suspect killed the three officers. That contrasted with earlier reports that multiple gunmen could have been involved. Police have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri.
Sunday morning's gunfire was just the latest in numerous high-profile shootings of or involving police in the recent weeks. The violence has intensified a national debate over the availabilty of and ability to carry firearms. (Also Sunday morning, police in Cleveland asked Ohio Governor John Kasich to suspend open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention this week; Kasich responded that he didn't have that authority.)
In Baton Rouge, witnesses reported hearing shots near a B Quick convenience store. One told the local CBS affiliate WAFB that the shots began before police moved into the area, which is less than a mile from police headquarters in Louisiana's state capital.
Tensions have been high since the killing by police of Alton Sterling on July 5, which prompted protests. Sterling was buried on Saturday.
Police were using a robot to search for possible explosives at the scene, the Associated Press reported. (A robot was also used to neutralize a shooter in the Dallas killings of police officers.)
President Barack Obama said in a statement that he condemns the attacks and that, though we do not yet know the motive, "there is no justification for violence against law enforcement."
“The violence, the hatred, just has to stop,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We have to do better. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."
A local state representative told WAFB that the tensions must ease. “We have to heal from this hurt,” said Rep. C. Denise Marcelle. “I’m calling upon everyone to pray today and to cease protests.”
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown, whose force has experienced such loss this month, also sent a message: