Attorneys issue statement on behalf of mother of Alton Sterling's son rejecting the violence against Dallas police officers
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Attorneys for Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of Alton Sterling's son, Cameron Sterling, issued a statement Friday morning on her behalf regarding the shootings in Dallas that resulted in the deaths of five officers.
We wholeheartedly reject the reprehensible acts of violence that were perpetrated against members of the Dallas Police Department.
Our hearts break for the families of the officers who were lost as they protected protesters and residents alike during a rally.
Regardless of how angry or upset people may be, resorting to this kind of sickening violence should never happen and simply cannot be tolerated.
Members of law enforcement have a very difficult job and the vast majority conduct themselves honorably as they protect and serve our communities.
We maintain that officers who violate the public trust and their training should be held accountable through our country's justice system.
Responding to violence with violence is not the answer.
The Raycom News Network reported one suspect is dead and three others are in custody from the shootings that left five police officers dead and seven others wounded during a protest Thursday night. It also stated the suspect who exchanged gunfire with police in a downtown parking garage for hours before getting killed, according to CNN. According to the report, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday that the snipers fired ambush-style on officers and appeared to be trying to kill as many as they could.
People have gathered across Baton Rouge to participate in peaceful rallies and vigils to remember Sterling, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting early Tuesday morning.
Police received a call from an individual who claimed a man threatened the caller with a gun 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 said Officer Blane Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II responded to the call. They added an altercation ensued between the officers and Sterling, 37, who was allegedly outside the store selling CDs.
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. An autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office revealed that 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, authorities were analyzing dash cam video and store surveillance video, which are believed to have captured the ordeal.
A preliminary investigation by Baton Rouge police determined only one of the two officers fired their weapon at the scene. Sources close to the case told the 9News Investigators that Officer Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran of the force, is the officer believed to have fired all of the shots.
Officials announced late Wednesday morning that the investigation would be handed over to the FBI. 19th Judicial District Attorney Hillar Moore said Thursday afternoon that the district attorney's office would not make a move on the case until the federal investigators wrapped up their investigation.
The officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, which is standard procedure. On Wednesday evening, Moore confirmed that both officers said that they felt their actions were justified just after the shooting.
Local NAACP president Michael McClanahan confirmed there will be a rally at the governmental building downtown Friday and said the group will now start thinking long-term.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for people to donate to a scholarship fund for Sterling's children, including his eldest son who is 15-year-old.
On Wednesday, Sterling's mother told the media that Sterling had a prior history with police including felony arrests.
A lawyer from South Carolina has been hired to represent the mother of Alton Sterling's oldest son and plans to hold a press conference outside the Triple S Food Mart.
Attorney L. Chris Stewart and Justin Bamberg have represented numerous families killed by members of law enforcement.
The history of the two BRPD officers showed complaints of force filed against them. The 9News Investigators combed through 660 pages of documents, specifically looking into their pasts.
Gov. John Bel Edwards responded to criticism of the decision to hand the investigation over to the US Department of Justice while speaking to CNN Thursday morning. He told the news organization, "… we're making the best decisions to make sure that the situation remains under control here in Baton Rouge …"
President Obama released a statement early Thursday responding to the recent officer-involved shootings on Facebook. After landing in Poland Thursday evening, Obama addressed the media about the shooting as well as another police shooting that happened in Minnesota Wednesday night.
Together Baton Rouge organizers said more than 100 faith and community leaders gathered a news conference Thursday morning "to issue a specific call to action to instill full public trust in the integrity of the investigation into the police shooting of Alton Sterling."
A self-proclaimed ex-gangster turned anti-violence advocate said his production crew arrived to the Triple S Food Mart just in time to record the shooting of Alton Sterling on a cell phone.
The cell phone footage shot by Silky Slim's production crew surfaced on Tuesday evening. 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.
Another cell phone video from a 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.
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