Sterling shooting: Protests continue as FBI takes over investigation
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The investigation regarding the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Alton Sterling has been handed over to the FBI.
On Tuesday, July 5, police were called regarding a man who was outside of the Triple S Food Mart on N. Foster Drive. The caller allegedly told police the man had a gun and threatened someone.
Officials say Officer Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II responded to the call. They say an altercation ensued between the officers and 37-year-old Alton Sterling, who was allegedly outside the store selling CDs.
An autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office shows that Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest.
On Wednesday evening, 19th Judicial District Attorney Hillar Moore confirmed that both officers said they felt their actions were justified just after the shooting.
A steady crowd of protestors and supporters swelled to thousands during a vigil Wednesday night that held in front of the scene where Sterling died.
Sterling's mother told the media that Sterling had a prior history with police including felony arrests. Court records show his arrest history includes:
- 9/09/96: Aggravated battery
- 10/31/97: Second-degree battery
- 1/06/98: Simple battery
- 5/04/00: Public intimidation
- 9/20/00: Carnal knowledge of a juvenile
- 9/04/01: Domestic violence
- 5/24/05: Burglary of an inhabited dwelling place
- 7/11/05: Receiving stolen things
- 9/12/05: Burglary of inhabited dwelling place
- 3/17/06: Simple criminal damage to property, simple robbery, simple theft, drug possession, misrepresentation during booking, simple battery, aggravated battery
- 4/12/06: Aggravated battery, simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace, unauthorized entry
- 4/04/08: Domestic abuse battery
- 6/03/09: Resisting an officer, drug possession, receiving stolen things, possession of stolen firearm, illegal carrying of a weapon with CDs, sound reproduct without consent
- 10/12/09: Illegal carrying of weapon, marijuana possession
- 8/13/15: Failure to register as a sex offender
- 4/08/16: Failure to register as a sex offender
- 6/14/16: Ecstasy and marijuana possession
State Rep. Denise Marcelle, who was briefed by police, announced that the body cameras worn by both officers were knocked off during the struggle with Sterling. Video from the dash cameras on the police vehicles as well as surveillance video from the store are being processed.
Abdul Muflahi, who owns the store and knew Sterling, said he saw the shooting happen. He claims two officers confronted Sterling shortly after arriving on the scene.
A private citizen released cell phone video to the media. It shows a portion of the struggle and the shooting. In the video, Sterling is seen on the ground with the two officers on top of him. At that point, one officer says, "he's got a gun" and then shots can be heard.
A crowd gathered outside the Triple S Food Mart beginning Tuesday afternoon and continued well into the late evening, becoming hostile at times.
WAFB opted to leave the scene at one point after a reporter was robbed of his iPad while standing across the street from where the shooting happened. Police were called and the suspect was arrested.
The family of Alton Sterling and members of the local chapter of the NAACP held a press conference Wednesday morning asking for answers and demanding the firing of the chief of police.
The mother of Alton Sterling's oldest son gave an emotional statement during the press conference.
Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference at the Governor's Manson to announce that the FBI's New Orleans Division, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana have opened a civil rights investigation.
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden and Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie held a press conference to release more information regarding the shooting. The police chief refuted the call for his resignation.
During the press conference, Moore confirmed that the United States Attorney will be handling the possible criminal charges. He expects that the investigation will take at least four weeks to obtain all investigative evidence, at which time a formal report for a prosecution decision will be completed.
The 9News Investigators were able to obtain the police dispatch recordings from just before and just after the shooting.
New cell phone video from another private citizen emerged Wednesday afternoon. The graphic video, which was shot from a much closer distance, shows the two Baton Rouge police officers struggling with Sterling.
A vigil for Alton Sterling was held at the Triple S Food Mart was held Wednesday, July 6 at 6 p.m. There was also a town hall meeting held at the New Sunlight Baptist Church on America Street at 6 p.m.
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