BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – The three officers died after being shot at about 9 a.m. local time Sunday, police said, adding one suspect is dead. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called the shooting “unspeakable and unjustified.”
Three law enforcement officers were shot dead and at least three others wounded in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
One suspect had been killed, most likely by police gunfire, and two others, described as wearing all black, were being sought, said Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman. “We do believe there is more than one suspect.”
Speaking to reporters in Baton Rouge, Corporal McKneely said officers responding to the shooting were checking the area for possible explosives. “We’re going to check the scene thoroughly to protect ourselves,” he said.
Sunday’s shooting is the latest episode in a month of violence and extraordinary racial tension in the country, and took place less than two weeks after two police officers in Baton Rouge fatally shot Alton Sterling, a black man who was selling CDs outside a convenience store. The night after Mr. Sterling was killed, a black man was killed by the police during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, and then the next night, five police officers were killed by a gunman in Dallas who said he wanted to kill police officers, particularly white officers.
Corporal McKneely asked people in the area to watch for anything suspicious.
“Just be on the lookout,” he said. “Anybody in this area saw anything suspicious, please give law enforcement a call.”
Details about the shooting remained sketchy Sunday afternoon and there were varying reports about the number of officers wounded. Earlier reports said that seven had been wounded.
The authorities said the shooting unfolded at about 9 a.m. Sunday near the Hammond Aire Plaza shopping center on Airline Highway. Officers from both the sheriff’s office and the Baton Rouge Police Department were wounded, the statement said.
Protests have been held along Airline Highway, which also runs in front of Police Headquarters, since the police shooting of Mr. Sterling on July 5.
An administration official said the president had been briefed on Baton Rouge shooting and the White House had offered any assistance necessary to local officials.
Corporal McKneely said it was unclear if the shooting on Sunday was connected to the protests, which had been losing their intensity over the last few nights. “We are not sure of anything right now,” he said.
Mark Clements, who lives near the shopping center, said he was in his backyard when he heard shots ring out.
“I heard probably 10 to 12 gunshots go off,” he said in a telephone interview. “We heard a bunch of sirens and choppers and everything since then.”
In a statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana called the shooting “an unspeakable and unjustified attack.”
“Rest assured,” he said, “every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.”
A local broadcaster, WAFB, broadcast video of a lock down at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, where wounded officers had been transported.
The shooting took place as protesters and Republicans were arriving in Cleveland for the party’s national convention. Steve Thacker, 57, of Westlake, Ohio, stood in Cleveland’s Public Square on Sunday holding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle as news broke that several officers had been killed in Baton Rouge.
After the shooting in Dallas, Stephen Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, urged people not to take their guns anywhere near Cleveland’s downtown during the convention because officers were already in a “heightened state.”
When asked about Mr. Loomis’s comments and the Baton Rouge shooting, Mr. Thacker said despite the shooting, he wanted to make a statement and show that people can continue to openly carry their weapons.
“I pose no threat to anyone. I’m an American citizen. I’ve never been in trouble for anything,” Mr. Thacker, an information technology engineer, said. “This is my time to come out and put my two cents worth in, albeit that it is a very strong statement.”