A Louisiana police officer shot and killed a man early Tuesday during a confrontation outside a Baton Rouge convenience store, authorities said, in a death that prompted a protest later in the day.
An autopsy shows Alton Sterling, 37, of Baton Rouge died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William Clark said.
Officers responded to the store about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after an anonymous caller indicated a man selling CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.
Two officers responded and had some type of altercation with the man and one officer fatally shot the suspect, McKneely said. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department policy, he said.
Police said Wednesday they have dash-cam video, body-cam video and store surveillance video of the shooting death of the black man.
Police said the audio and video will be turned over to the U.S. Justice Department, which is investigating the shooting.
Lt. Jonny Dunnam said the body-cam footage may not be as good as investigators hoped for because the cameras became dislodged during the altercation.
In a cellphone video taken by a community activist and posted online, two officers had Sterling pinned to the ground and gunfire erupted moments after someone yelled, “He’s got a gun! Gun!”
Dunnam said that even though federal investigators are taking the lead, there will be an internal investigation and the officers will be entitled to hearings before any disciplinary actions are taken.
The store’s owner, Abdul Muflahi, told WAFB-TV that the first officer used a stun gun on Sterling and the second officer tackled the man. Muflahi said as Sterling fought to get the officer off of him, the first officer shot him “four to six times.”
The owner said Sterling did not have a gun in his hand at the time but he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling’s pocket after the shooting.
McKneely said he could not confirm Muflahi’s description of the event or any other details of the investigation.
The Advocate reported a crowd people protesting the shooting gathered Tuesday afternoon at the store where it took place. The group grew to more than 200 people who chanted “black lives matter” and “hands up don’t shoot” and waved signs late into the night, the newspaper reported.