Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others injured in a shooting incident in Baton Rouge, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department.
It said in a statement that "one suspect is dead, law enforcement believes two others may be at large."
Public Information Director Casey Rayborn Hicks told NPR that the scene is still active, and that they are advising the public to take alternative routes and "steer clear of the area."
"At approximately 9:00 this morning Baton Rouge Police officers and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies were involved in a shooting incident on Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway," the sheriff's department said. "Multiple officers from both agencies sustained injuries and were transported to local hospitals."
This comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire on police at a protest in Dallas, killing five officers.
It's unclear whether recent unrest in Baton Rouge played a role in the shootings. Earlier this month, a man named Alton Sterling was shot dead by police officers in Baton Rouge, and video of the shooting led to days of protests in the city.
WWNO's Tegan Wendland told our Newscast unit that the officers were shot today near police headquarters. "It's the same area where several protests over the past week were met with heavy police response, and hundreds were arrested."
In the police dispatch audio provided by Broadcastify, you can hear the initial report of a person walking with an assault rifle next to a B-Quik convenience store. Seconds later, there's a call for help over the radio: "Shots fired, officer down. Shots fired, officer down."
Cpl. L'Jean McKneely told reporters that they are in the process of informing the family members of the injured and the deceased. He added:
"It's an ongoing scene, we don't have any specific detail about what transpired. We do know there's a scene over at the B-Quik station, so we're working that scene. There's a suspect that's down right now, we're checking him out and we're going to make sure that there aren't any explosives around. We 're trying to secure the scene before we give any detailed information."
McKneely said that they are appealing for help from the community for any information, because they believe they are dealing with multiple suspects.
In a statement, President Obama said today's killings in Baton Rouge and the earlier attack in Dallas "are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop." He added:
"These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best."
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden spoke with WAFB in a phone interview: "If this is not a defining moment for us to bridge the divide and come out with a unified voice, then I don't know what is."
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards described the incident as an "unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing." He vowed to deploy "every resource available" to "ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice."
Likewise, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that the Department of Justice will provide "victim services and federal funding support."
In May, Louisiana passed legislation that classified attacks on police officers as a hate crime. This will result in stricter penalties for offenders. The so-called "blue lives law" takes effect on August 1st, so it would not apply in this case.
We'll update this story as we learn more.
This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.