Thursday 18 January 2018

Baton Rouge mourns three police officers killed in ambush by gunman

People attend a candlelight vigil for Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson outside the school he attended (AP)
People attend a candlelight vigil for Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson outside the school he attended (AP)
Crowds in front of the Baton Rouge police headquarters after a law enforcement support motorcycle ride (AP)

Shocked residents gathered in churches, at community vigils and a motorcycle rally in Baton Rouge to pay tribute to the three police officers who were killed in an ambush by a gunman.

The three who died near a convenience store in the Louisiana capital are among 10 law enforcement officers killed in 10 days around the US by attackers, including at a protest march in Dallas and a courthouse in Michigan.

Even as Baton Rouge was mourning the three officers, news came that a policeman in Kansas City was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car.

Families with children, drivers passing through and law enforcement officers from outside the area have been laying flowers at a makeshift memorial in front of the B-Quick convenience store near where the three officers were killed on Sunday.

Hundreds of people, white and black, attended a rally supporting law enforcement officers at Baton Rouge police headquarters, about a mile from where three officers were shot dead.

Many in the crowd on Tuesday night were bikers, who rumbled past the shooting scene in a long line of motorcycles before the gathering.

The three officers killed in Baton Rouge were Montrell Jackson, a 10-year police force veteran with a newborn at home, Matthew Gerald, an Iraq war veteran who became a Baton Rouge police officer less than a year ago, and 45-year-old Brad Garafola, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy and a father of four.

In Washington, President Barack Obama met Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

He said after the meeting that what happened in Baton Rouge is a reminder of the extraordinary risks and dangers that law enforcement officers take every day "to protect us and our way of life".

Mr Obama said he will use his remaining months as president to work to rebuild trust between police and the communities they serve.


Press Association

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