Gunman kills three police officers in Louisiana; Obama condemns attack

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At Least 3 Officers Are Dead After a Shooting in Baton Rouge

A gunman killed three police officers and wounded three others in Louisiana's capital on Sunday, just days after the police shooting of a black man there sparked nationwide protests, one of which led to the massacre of five Dallas policemen.

Officers in Baton Rouge were responding to a call of a man carrying a gun when shots were fired at around 9 a.m. local time (10.00 a.m. ET). Two Baton Rouge police officers and one sheriff's deputy were killed.

The gunman died in a shootout with police a short time after he opened fire on the first group of officers, Colonel Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said in a press conference.

The suspect, identified by a U.S. official as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri, was believed to have acted alone. Investigators suspect a 911 emergency call may have been used to lure police to the scene, the official said on condition of anonymity.

See images from the scene:

17 PHOTOS
Baton Rouge shooting -- images from the scene
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Baton Rouge shooting -- images from the scene
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: An East Baton Rouge Police officer patrols Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: East Baton Rouge Police officers patrol Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: East Baton Rouge Police officers patrol Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: Baton Rouge Police officers patrol Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: Baton Rouge Police officers patrol Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - JULY 17: Baton Rouge Police officers patrol Airline Hwy after 3 police officers were killed early this morning on July 17, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to reports, one suspect has been killed while others are still being sought by police. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
An American flag flies at half mast near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
A police helicopter flies near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
An officer from the Louisiana Wildlife Service blocks off a road near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
Law enforcement vehicles block access to Airline Highway near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Police officers block off Airline Highway near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
A law enforcement helicopter is seen near the scene where police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
A law enforcement helicopter is seen near the scene where police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Lew enforcement officers block a road after a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
Police officers block off a road near the site of a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
Police officers arrive near the site of a shooting of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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It was not immediately clear whether there was a link between the shootings and the recent unrest over the police killings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota.

Authorities did not give any information about the gunman's possible motive.

President Barack Obama condemned the attack, vowed that justice would be done and called on Americans to focus on rhetoric and actions that united the country rather than divided it.

"We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence on law enforcement," Obama said in televised remarks from the White House.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the shootings an "unspeakable, heinous attack" that served no purpose.

"There simply is no place for more violence. That doesn't help anyone, it doesn't further the conversation, it doesn't address any injustice, perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself," he told reporters in Baton Rouge.

Click through reactions to the shooting here:

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Twitter reactions to Baton Rouge shooting
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Twitter reactions to Baton Rouge shooting
Just got home from mass to the news of this awful shooting of police officers I #BatonRouge. What world are we living in?!
Tragedy this morning in #BatonRouge. Please join me in praying for these officers, families, & @BRPD. https://t.co/9NzEL9F7Q0
We stand with Baton Rouge PD https://t.co/dyqRELH4cs @DallasPD @sarasotapd @FLTDF @etm11715 @FLSheriffs @policewives @TeresaKondek @WFLAJohn
Sending our thoughts & prayers to our brothers & sisters in blue at @BRPD. #BatonRouge https://t.co/bUtcei9dYO
Praying now for the police shot in #BatonRouge and those fighting for their lives --pray for peace, strength - pray with your churches
my brain cannot wrap itself around this continuing senseless violence. I pray for deliverance from hate and mental instability. #BatonRouge
Dear God. This must stop! #batonrouge
So much tragedy. Prayers for the officers killed and wounded today in #BatonRouge. This has to stop.
Saddened by the loss of lives. Our 💙 goes out to #BatonRouge and we🙏for the families. #Unity needed now more than ever in our communities.
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Obama has sought to balance concerns about police abuses, largely against African-Americans, while paying tribute to fallen officers. He attended a memorial service last week for the five Dallas police officers killed by a black ex-U.S. soldier at the end of a protest against the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

The Black Lives Matter civil rights movement has called for police to end racial profiling, bringing the issue to national attention ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Republicans have pushed back, calling for support of the police.

It is a time of especially heightened security across the country, notably in Cleveland and Philadelphia, hosts to this week's Republican National Convention and next week's Democratic National Convention, respectively, which are expected to formally nominate Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the election.

WORRIES AROUND CONVENTION

"We demand law and order," Trump said in a Facebook posting Sunday afternoon.

In a statement, Clinton urged Americans to "stand together to reject violence and strengthen our communities."

The head of a Cleveland police union called on Ohio Governor John Kasich to declare a state of emergency and suspend laws allowing for the open carry of firearms during the Republican convention.

"I don't care what the legal precedent is. I feel strongly that leadership needs to stand up and defend these police officers," Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, told Reuters in an interview.

Loomis said he was concerned about copycat shootings at the Republican convention.

A spokeswoman for Kasich said the governor did not have the power to suspend the open carry law.

Sunday's shootings occurred about a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters, where dozens of people were arrested this month while protesting Sterling's death. The 37-year-old African-American father of five was shot and killed at close quarters by law enforcement officers on July 5.

A witness to Baton Rouge shootings, Brady Vancel, told a CBS television affiliate he had seen a gunman, a second man in a red shirt lying in a parking lot and another gunman running away "as shots were being fired back and forth from several guns."

He said the police arrived shortly after the gunfire began.

One of the injured officers was listed in critical condition at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, while another was in fair condition, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Zimmerman said. The third was taken to another hospital where he was in fair condition.

Shocked community members lined the highway about a mile from the shootings, at the site of the protests against Sterling's killing.

"It never hits home until it's in your own living room," said Redell Norman, an activist who attended the recent protests at police headquarters.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Ian Simpson, Tim Gardner and Julia Edwards, Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Paul Simao; Editing by Mary Milliken)

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