CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Law enforcement agencies in the Tri-County area are responding to a fatal shootout in Louisiana Sunday morning that left three police officers and a suspect dead and three other officers wounded.
Maj. Eric Watson released this statement on behalf of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office:
Today, our country has again witnessed an evil act committed, not only against law enforcement but also against a community and our democracy. Law enforcement officers and other first responders are our first line of defense against evil, and such criminal acts is an attack on the American community.
Although we have not received any credible threat against our local law enforcement personnel, our deputies are reminded to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings while on and off duty.The safety of our officers and community remain our top priority.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the fallen officers' families and the Baton Rouge community. We will continue to monitor the situation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Charles Francis, spokesman for the Charleston Police Department, released this statement:
Today, we witnessed another tragedy to our law enforcement family in Louisiana, which impacts every community and police officer across America. These recent attacks on the guardians who protect our way of life, threaten the safety of every citizen. Therefore, it is time for all people to strongly condemn these actions and seek out ways to heal our nation.
We were all shocked again today as we awoke and heard the terrible news. As you process this tragedy, please keep these officers, their families, and the departments in the Baton Rogue area in your thoughts and prayers. This tragedy, along with what was seen in Dallas last week, demonstrates the danger faced by police officers on a daily basis as they work tirelessly to protect communities and our very way of life.
This is a difficult and unprecedented time for law enforcement and our country. The uncertainty, anxiety, and yes, fear, being experienced by police officers recently can be overwhelming at times for them and their families; however, these brave men and women continue to serve their communities with honor and courage. They continue to race toward danger knowing the potential outcome to protect those whom they do not know, and in many cases, do not support them. This is the character of a police officer, a community guardian.
As law enforcement and the country move through this unprecedented time, we cannot allow evil to win or defeat us. The Charleston Police Department will continue to work with our community partners to find solutions that will build trust, respect, and support. Together, we can find solutions. Apart, we will find more tragedy, which will lead us down a destructive path.
Even though we face these difficult times, the officers of the Charleston Police Department will remain vigilant in protecting our community and our fundamental way of life. You can depend on our commitment, dedication, and professionalism.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office posted a message on the department's Facebook page urging people to pray:
The shooting happened Sunday morning in Baton Rouge after officers responded to a call at approximately 8:40 a.m. about a man armed with a gun wearing all black who was standing behind a beauty supply store. Authorities say the scene later shifted to a nearby gas station located less than a mile from Baton Rouge Police Department Headquarters.
During the shooting BRPD officers and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputies were struck during gunfire exchange. Five of the officers were transported to an area hospital where three died, authorities have said. A 41-year-old officer and a 32-year-old officer were from the Baton Rouge Police Department. The other was a 45-year-old officer with the Sheriff's Office.