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Shooting In Baton Rouge Leaves 3 Officers Dead


The East Baton Rouge sheriff's office says it believes that two suspects involved in this morning's shootings that left three officers dead are still at large. One suspect is dead. We are joined now by Jesse Hardman of member station WWNO. He is near the scene of the shooting in Baton Rouge. Jesse, I understand you've been able to speak to someone who was in the area when the shooting started. What did you learn?

JESSE HARDMAN, BYLINE: Yeah. I'm at St. Paul Lutheran Church. And about a quarter to 9, they were having Bible study. And Pastor Michael Button said they started to hear a lot of commotion with cop cars and police helicopters. And he said for the first time in his 32 years - 38 years as a pastor, he had to lock the doors of the church to keep everyone safe. People are starting to leave the church finally now. But people are definitely shaken.

NEARY: What is the latest in terms of what we know about people who - casualties as a result of this?

HARDMAN: So we know that there are three injured and three dead. We know that one of the shooters is dead and that they're actively looking for two others. And that's about all we know at this point. There's a 3:00 p.m. press conference with the governor and law enforcement where they will update all of that information.

NEARY: I understand that people are beginning to gather around local hospitals. Is that right?

HARDMAN: Well, actually, people are coming to the police checkpoints. They've cordoned off the area, which is about half a mile from police headquarters, where a lot of the protests were last week. And they're bringing water and tents. It's really hot out. And yeah - so this whole area is cordoned off at the moment. And listening to local FM radio, people are telling folks to lock their doors and stay inside.

NEARY: So people are pretty concerned there. People are really worried about their own safety.

HARDMAN: Terrified, yeah.

NEARY: Do you have any information about how this all started?

HARDMAN: All I know is that it started at a B-quik, a quickie mart, a gas station, near Old Hammond and Airline Highway, which, again, is about a half a mile from where police headquarters is, where a lot of the commotion was last week with protests and arrests. And a lot of the businesses on the inside - people are closing their businesses, but they're unable to leave. The scene is effectively in lockdown.

NEARY: This is really tough for Baton Rouge. I mean, they've been going through a really hard period.

HARDMAN: Yeah. I think people were just starting to feel better Friday and Saturday. After the funeral of Alton Sterling, there was lots of calls for peace and calm. Friday was pretty calm. Saturday felt calm. And so, yeah, I think people feel like they're right back in it.

NEARY: Jesse Hardman of member station WWNO speaking with us from Baton Rouge, La. Thanks so much, Jesse.

HARDMAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lynn Neary is an NPR arts correspondent covering books and publishing.
Jesse Hardman
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