Police Purge Underway in Baton Rouge: Three Officers Shot Dead Amid Protest

© REUTERS / Joe PenneyPolice officers block off a road after a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016.
Police officers block off a road after a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
At least three officers have been shot in Baton Rouge only a week after the deadly attacks in Dallas that left five officers dead and a dozen others wounded as protests have soured into violence over the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of cops.

UPDATE: The Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police confirms that there is no longer an active shooter situation in Baton Rouge. A lone gunmen dressed in all black armed with a high-powered rifle ambushed cops. Police responding to calls of "officer down" arrived five minutes later and engaged the subject while EMS cared to the wounded officers. The gunmen was killed in the shootout minutes later. In total, there are three officers dead — two from the Baton Rouge Police Department and one from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department. Of the three injured, one is said to be clinging on to their life by a thread and remains in critical condition.

The lone gunmen has been identified by police as a 29-year-old black male named Gavin Eugene Long from Kansas City, Missouri. Police caution that the motive behind the shooting remains unknown until further investigation.

Local news reports that the bomb squad has been dispatched near Airport Highway where police killed one of the shooters. East Baton Rouge Police Sheriff's Department says that they are still searching for two suspects. WAFB Channel 9, a local Baton Rouge news station, reports that one of the two other alleged gunmen has been barricaded by police, but the third suspected gunmen remains on the loose.

The Baton Rouge Mayor confirmed that this was an ambush style attack with multiple shooters taking aim at police responding to a reported incident.

Ambulances are now heading near a Wal-Mart in Port Allen where two individuals who eyewitnesses say were wearing all black went in to change their clothes. The ambulance driver is reportedly wearing a bullet-proof helmet reports WAFB Channel 9 News.

Local news reporter Terry L. Jones reports that police stopped two black men wearing black t-shirts and camouflage pants, consistent with the attire worn by members of the New Black Panther Party, after they changed their clothes inside the Wal-Mart in Port Allen. The two individuals who were stopped by police were arrested and turned over to Louisiana State Police, but it remains unclear whether they are the other suspected shooters.

The two individuals who were detained by officers and handed over to the Louisiana State Police after changing out of black t-shirts and camouflage pants at a local Walmart are now being questioned by the FBI in connection with the attack.

​Baton Rouge officials confirm that seven officers have been shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — 3 have been killed and the other 3 are in critical condition at this time according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department. Initial reports indicating that one attacker has been killed by police have been confirmed by local KTLA Channel 5 News. Reports from news affiliates confirm that police are still searching for a black male who they believe was involved in the shooting.

East Baton Rouge police were forced to use a stun gun on a man who approached officers in a menacing fashion at a barricade set up at Airline Highway. Witnesses say that the individual was yelling and pointing. It is unclear whether this individual is linked to the shooting.

​The Mayor of East Baton Rouge cautioned that this is still an active shooter situation as there are some concerns that there is a second assailant still on the loose. The Mayor also said that they are still investigating the motive behind the attack. 

​"Right now, we are trying to get our arms around everything," said Holden. "It's just been on thing after another."

The attacks come one week after the FBI issued a Situational Information Report (SIR) warning cops of a credible threat of a "police purge" in Baton Rouge. The advisory was dated for July 8 to 10, but additional warnings have been issued by the FBI that radical activists may be looking to target police with deadly force.

​Baton Rouge has been ground zero for protests against police brutality by the activist group Black Lives Matter in the wake of the killing of Alton Sterling at the hands of local police. A bystander videotaped two cops holding Sterling down on the ground before one officer discharged his weapon several times at point blank range.

​Less than 24-hours after the country was reeling from the unjust killing of Alton Sterling, a livestream video went viral on Facebook showing an innocent Philando Castile bleeding out after being shot by an officer while his girlfriend narrated the tape and his four year old daughter sat in the back seat of the car.

Over the last week peaceful protesters with Black Lives Matter have been pummeled by police in militarized riot gear who arrested individuals simply for filming the protests causing renewed outrage across the country.

​The situation has begun to deteriorate as a group identifying itself as the New Black Panther Party has taken to the front lines of the protest with weapons in tow. The presence of the radical activists who have called for the use of force have greatly undermined public sentiment in favor of the cause of addressing police brutality with the social media punditry reverting to full-on racism in response to the attacks.

​The New Black Panther Party has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a black Nationalist hate group and is considered much more radical than its peaceful counterpart Black Lives Matter.

Donald Trump wasted no time in politicizing the tragedy blasting Obama for his feckless leadership over the issue of police officers being targeted. "How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order," said Trump in a social media statement.

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