3 teens arrested for firing gun during attempted robbery after festival

3 teens arrested for firing gun during attempted robbery after festival

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The sound of gunshots in downtown Baton Rouge caused panic at the conclusion of the Earth Day festival. Police say three teens have been arrested in connection with that incident.

According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, the incident happened shortly before 7 p.m. Investigators say a fight broke out and the three teens took off running.

"They ran in to the parking garage of the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino," said Sgt. Don Coppola, Baton Rouge Police Department. "At the same time a vehicle was attempting to leave the parking garage. The teens stopped the vehicle and tried to get the driver to give them a ride. They were pulling on the vehicle's door handle, trying to get in."

The driver refused to open the door for the teens and that's when investigators believe the shots were fired.

"One teen pulled out a gun and fired shots," Sgt. Coppola explained. "No one was injured."

Because downtown Baton Rouge was filled with festival-goers, as well as patrons who were leaving the River Center, the gunshots caused mass panic.

"It was a crazy scene," said Baton Rouge resident Neil Werries. "I was between the River Center and the USS Kidd with a group of people preparing to load out of the Cirque du Soleil show from the arena. There was also dozens of passersby walking along the sidewalks on both sides of the street (River Road) heading south away from downtown. I looked at my phone to see the time and noticed that it was 7:01 p.m. At that moment, I heard multiple popping noises coming from south of where we were standing.

"At first everyone froze," he continued. "Then all the people on the sidewalks turned around and started running north back towards downtown. It became clear that they were reacting to what everyone perceived were gunshots. People outside the River Center were immediately encouraged to get inside the building."

Investigators were able to locate the teens and place them under arrest.

All three teens are charged with attempted armed robbery. Two have an additional charge of resisting arrest. The teen who fired the shots is additionally charged with illegal carrying of a weapon and obstruction of justice.

This incident is one of many that happened during the Earth Day Festival that are currently under investigation by the Baton Rouge Police Department. One incident launched an internal investigation regarding the use of force by a police officer. Click here to read more on that story.

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