Two days after the police killing of Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge citizens turned out both to pray and to protest at a vigil held in his memory.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with a group of local religious leaders spoke during the prayer vigil at at Baton Rouge's Living Faith Christian Center. In his remarks, Edwards asked citizens to be patient as the U.S. Department of Justice begins a criminal investigation into the shooting.
"I'm asking everyone to be patient because investigations take time," Edwards said. "We also have to try and make sense of this tragedy and I know that right now that right now that may seem like an impossibility, but I think we have a responsibility to come together and address the serious problems before us."
Edwards spoke for about twenty minutes during the prayer vigil. A reporter for The Advocate present at the prayer vigil estimated about 350 people were in attendance, with more continuing to arrive through the evening.
Edwards also said in his remarks that he would call for a new focus on training for police officers and developing new standards for engagement between law enforcement and citizens.
"We have to make sure that law enforcement people are the professionals we all want them to be," he said. "That they understand they are here first and foremost to protect and serve."
While the prayer vigil was going on, a group of protesters arrived and demonstrated outside the church. They briefly formed a chain across the road leading away from the building, blocking traffic, but left shortly after the vigil ended.
The group then returned to the Triple S Food Mart, the site of Sterling's Death for continued demonstrations.
More protests were planned through the weekend with organized rallies scheduled for Friday at Baton Rouge City Hall, and Saturday and Sunday at police stations.
Other protests have been held across the country over Sterling's death, as well as the death of Philando Castile, also at the hands of police. Demonstrations have drawn angry and outraged crowds in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Baltimore, Los Angeles and many other cities.