Baton Rouge Police Fatally Shoot Alton Sterling, Sparking Outrage | Sojourners

Baton Rouge Police Fatally Shoot Alton Sterling, Sparking Outrage

Alton Sterling / Facebook
Photo via Alton Sterling / Facebook

Police in Baton Rouge, La., shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling after pinning him to the ground in a convenience store parking lot.

Graphic footage of the shooting has circulated online, sparking nationwide outrage and protests.

Two white police officers met Sterling, who is black, outside a store and an altercation ensued. The video below depicts the officers wrestling Sterling to the ground, with both officers resting their weight on top of him.

One officer yells "He's got a gun! Gun!" before the other officer shoots and kills Sterling.

Louisana is an open-carry state, and the owner of the convenience store says Sterling was not reaching for his weapon.

The Advocate reports:

[Abdullah] Muflahi, the owner and manager of the Triple S store, said he was there around midnight when he walked outside and saw two officers trying to pin Sterling to a car parked in a handicapped spot. The officers hit Sterling with a Taser, but he didn’t initially get to the ground, he said.

...Muflahi, who said he was two feet away from the altercation, said an officer yelled “gun” during the scuffle. An officer then fired four to six shots into Sterling’s chest, he said.

“His hand was nowhere (near) his pocket,” Muflahi said, adding that Sterling wasn’t holding a weapon. After the shooting, an officer reached into Sterling’s pocket and retrieved a handgun, Muflahi said.

“They were really aggressive with him from the start,” Muflahi said about the officers.

You can watch the video below. Warning: This video contains graphic and troubling content. 

Sterling was a father of five, and was living in Living Waters Outreach Ministry, a Christian transitional living center. He sold CDs to help make a living.

His death sparked protest throughout Baton Rouge last night, and prayers and protests continue today.

Read more at The Advocate.