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More than 24 hours after two white police officers shot and killed a 37-year-old black man outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La., details of the fatal altercation are continuing to emerge.
The officers were reportedly responding to an anonymous report on Tuesday that Alton Sterling was brandishing a gun as he sold CDs outside when they shot him several times. A coroner ruled Sterling died on the scene due to multiple gunshot wounds in the chest and back. Here is what we know about the incident, and what action is being taken in its wake.
The Fatal Shooting
The Police Department said officers responded to an anonymous call at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday that a black man in a red shirt was brandishing a weapon outside the convenience store, where he was reportedly selling CDs. A bystander captured a video of police subduing Sterling on the ground before shouting, "He's got a gun!" and shooting him several times. The two officers involved were Blane Salamoni, a 4 year veteran, and Howie Lake II, a 3 year veteran. Witnesses reported Sterling was armed but did not pull his gun out. Police have not yet corroborated that Sterling had a gun.
Police say the body cameras officers were wearing fell off in the altercation, but footage from the dashboard cameras and store surveillance system has been collected by investigators, according to the New York Times. The store owner described the shooting in a video.
Abdullah Muflahi, owner of store where Alton Sterling killed in BR, describes seeing shooting by officer pic.twitter.com/08ABnQwr6a— Maya Lau (@mayalau) July 5, 2016
Tuesday night, hundreds of protestors surrounded the store where Sterling was shot, blocking traffic and chanting "black lives matter."
A vigil is set to be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday outside the convenience store, according to the New York Times, and some Twitter users have expressed that they would travel there to join the protests.
Celebrities Speak Out
On Twitter, many celebrities have reacted to the shooting. Sterling's death is the latest in a long line of high-profile shootings of black Americans by white police officers, stoking the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread protests against police brutality.
Love to Louisiana #AltonSterling— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) July 6, 2016
How many more times must this happen for us to matter? How many more must we lose?— Zendaya (@Zendaya) July 6, 2016
BLACK. LIVES. MATTER. #AltonSterling
That's murder. #AltonSterling— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) July 6, 2016
As USA Black outside of Sports&Entertainment HARD for USA to KNOW your name. Sick sport of PoliceBrutality is adding to that #AltonSterling— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) July 6, 2016
Tearful Family Calls for Action
Sterling's son sobbed at a press conference on Wednesday as his mother, Quinyetta Mcmillon, spoke of the shooting. She decried the killing of Sterling, a man who was, "simply trying to earn a living and take care of his children."
"The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis," she said. "As a mother, I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father, that I cannot take away from him."
Mcmillon called for action: "I, for one, will not rest or allow him to be swept in the dirt," she said.
What happens next?
The officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave, per standard department policy, USA Today reported. Local and national investigations are underway. The city police chief commented on the killing in a press conference on Wednesday, promising to thoroughly investigate it.
"There's a lot that we do not understand, and at this point, like you, I am demanding answers," he said.
The local chapter of the NAACP has called for the resignation of the city's police chief and mayor in light of the incident. The Justice Department announced it is opening a civil rights investigation into the shooting as La. Governor John Bel Edwards appealed for calm.
“I know that that may be tough for some, but it’s essential that we do that," he said. "I know that there are protests going on, but it’s urgent that they remain peaceful.”
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond had previously asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Sterling's death in a statement.
"The video footage released today of the shooting of Alton Sterling by officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community," he said. "I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice. My prayers and thoughts are with Mr. Sterling's family as they deal with this tragedy. There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling's death. Including questions about the initial calls for police presence, the level of force used by officers, the verbal and physical altercation, and the response of the officers after he was shot."
The Justice Department has investigated police shootings in the past, including in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, where they cleared him of civil rights violations. Sterling's death is one of at least 505 fatal police shootings in 2016, according to the Washington Post.