Police chief, mayor, others offer new details on Alton Sterling shooting

Police chief, mayor, others offer new details on Alton Sterling shooting
Alton Sterling (Source: Facebook)
Alton Sterling (Source: Facebook)

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The Baton Rouge Police Department, Mayor Kip Holden and other officials held a news conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. to release new details in the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling.

Police identified the officers involved in the shooting as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. They added that Salamoni has been with the force four years, while Lake has been with the department for three. BRPD said both officers work in the Uniform Patrol Division. Officials also stated both officers were placed on paid leave immediately after the shooting.

"When officers arrived, Sterling was armed," Police Chief Carl Dabadie said. "We received a call from someone who said a black man was armed and had threatened people."

"It is our goal, mission that a transparent investigation be conducted. We are turning the entire investigation over to FBI," Dabadie added.

He asked anyone with information on the case to contact the US Attorney's Office at (225) 389-0443. He also thanked the public in advance for their patience as investigators work to get the answers everyone wants.

"It's a sad day and a tough day," Mayor Kip Holden said. "It's not like we need to be handheld and spoon-fed when it comes down to doing what's right," he added.

Holden said his office has been in touch with the White House and the mayor of Baltimore in the wake of the shooting. He added that officials are doing all they can to make sure they get all of the answers.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office went to the scene the night of the incident to follow officer-involved shooting protocol. He added his office had reached out to higher agencies since the incident happened, which resulted in the FBI handling the case.

Police said they received a call from an individual who claimed Sterling, 37, had threatened the caller with a gun while Sterling was selling CDs in the parking lot of the Triple S convenient store on N. Foster Drive. Two officers arrived and confronted Sterling, who reportedly had a gun in his pocket.

The store owner, who witnessed the shooting, said things quickly got out of control. One officer used a stun gun on Sterling, then the other officer tackled Sterling to the ground. According to the store owner, the officers shot Sterling four to six times shortly after he was tackled. Cell phone footage captured part of the gunfire.

An autopsy showed Sterling died of multiple gunshot wounds to his back and chest. Officials said both officers had on body cameras, but they fell off during the struggle and do not show the shooting. However, police are analyzing dash cam video and store surveillance video, which are believed to have captured the ordeal.

Several hundred protesters gathered outside a Baton Rouge store overnight where Sterling was shot early Tuesday morning.

Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to discuss issues related to the officer-involved shooting.

Edwards met Wednesday morning with Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police, and Moore, according to the governor's office.

The announcement was made shortly after community leaders and Sterling's family held a news conference on the steps of the Baton Rouge City Hall.

Quinyetta McMillon became very emotional when talking about the father of her son. Mike McClanahan, the leader of the Baton Rouge chapter of the NAACP called for East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden to fire Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie and for Holden to resign.

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