For Baton Rouge patrol officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, it started with a call from dispatch.
“Have a suspicious code two. He pulled a gun on complainant and told him he couldn’t be around there,” the dispatcher advises.
Minutes later, it ended for 37-year-old Alton Sterling, with five shots fired, and witnesses screaming,“Oh, my God!”
“They shot him?”
What happened in between? Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie says we still don’t know.
“There is a lot that we do not understand,” the chief said, during a press conference Wednesday. “And at this point, like you, I am demanding answers.”
Those answers won’t be coming to local police. Governor John Bel Edwards has called the feds to take over.
“The lead agency conducting the investigation in this matter will be the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division,” the governor announced Wednesday. “They will be assisted by the Middle District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI.”
They will be reviewing evidence in the case, including surveillance video from the convenience store where Sterling was killed, along with police dash cam and body camera footage.
“There is body camera footage. During the altercation, the body cameras did come dislodged, but they stayed on and recording,” BRPD public information officer LT. Johhny Dunham confirmed.
While we wait for answers, there have been calls to action.
“I’m calling on anybody in this city with any backbone to go and arrest those two officers!” Baton Rouge NAACP chapter president Michael McClanahan urged.
Yet the governor is urging calm.
“I’m asking for religious leaders and community leaders here in Baton Rouge to work with all of us to insure that we remain calm and peaceful as the details continue to unfold.”
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Cameron Sterling is calling for something – someone – else.
“I want my daddy,” the boy sobbed, during another of the Wednesday press conferences focusing on this tragedy.