Updates: Police Killing Of Alton Sterling Prompts Federal Investigation, Protests in Baton Rouge
The aftermath of the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge is a developing, fluid story. In breaking news situations, some information passed along to our reporters may later turn out to be wrong. Our editors and reporters make every effort to ensure information comes from reputable sources, and this post will be constantly updated as we receive new information.
July 6 -- 10:21 p.m. -- Signing off for the night from New Orleans/Baton Rouge. Updates on the Alton Sterling investigation and community reaction can be heard on 89.9FM, 5-9 a.m., during Morning Edition tomorrow, including WRKF's Capitol Access segment.
July 6 -- 9:22 p.m. -- Baton Rouge crowds danced behind brass band musicians, second line-style, and waved protest signs with "Black Lives Matter" and "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" as the sun set on a peaceful public gathering for Alton Sterling. Some signs, though, held more aggressive messages for police, and some drivers blasted anti-police songs from their cars. Several in attendance openly carried guns (Louisiana is an open carry state for firearms). Police presence at the event was minimal. The Triple S Food Store has grown a pile of stuffed toys, flowers, a table covered in signatures, and other offerings, next to a mural depicting Alton Sterling now painted on the store's wall.
July 6 -- 7:44 p.m. -- WWNO's Ryan Kailath and Jason Saul are in Baton Rouge at the public vigil for Alton Sterling, providing radio and social media updates.
Before the vigil, a crowd of hundreds chanted in protest outside the Triple S convenience store. That’s where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was killed by police officers early Tuesday morning. Once the vigil began, state representative C. Denise Marcelle tried to quell any thoughts of violence.
“Some people said we couldn’t come out here without burning up our own buildings, without flipping over cars," he sais. "But this is not Ferguson. This is Baton Rouge, Louisiana!”
Family and clergy members from Sterling’s community then spoke, and led the large crowd in hymns and prayers. The FBI and the Department of Justice have opened an investigation into the shooting.
July 6 -- 4:01 p.m. -- The Advocate newspaper has released a second video of the shooting of Alton Sterling, apparently also captured on a cell phone. While the (unidentified) person filming turns away for most of the shooting incident, the lens pans back to show Sterling lying on his back, wounded in the chest.
July 6 -- 1:57 p.m. -- A federal investigation is under way in Louisiana after Baton Rouge police shot and killed a black man selling CDs outside a convenience store. The Baton Rouge police chief says the man was armed.
A cell phone video of the shooting does not show the man's gun. Several reports say it was in his pocket.
Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards calls cell phone video of the confrontation “disturbing to say the least.” The coroner’s office says 37-year-old Alton Sterling died from gunshot wounds in the back and chest. Officers were responding to an anonymous caller who said Sterling threatened him with a gun. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. says he welcomes an independent review.
Both officers involved in the killing are now on administrative leave.
In a press conference earlier today, Dabadie asked for voluntary compliance with the law and peaceful assembly.
"We encourage you to plan protests," he said. "We don't have issues with that. We just ask that you do it peacefully and that no one gets injured."
Mayor Kip Holden of Baton Rouge said he'd received calls from officials around the nation, including the White House, offering condolences, prayers and whatever could be done "to make sure justice is served."
Holden says he also heard from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a call that "meant a lot from the standpoint that Baltimore has been through the same thing that we're witnessing here in Baton Rouge." Baltimore protests turned destructive surrounding the 2015 death of Freddie Gray.
Protests have sprung up around the Triple S convenience store where Alton Sterling was killed. A vigil is planned there for 6 p.m. tonight.