Update, 07/06/2016: Baton Rouge police have identified the officers involved in the shooting as Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. Salamoni is a four-year veteran to the Baton Rouge Police Department while Lake has been on the force for three years.
Protests against the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police have broken out in the wake of a graphic 48-second video showing two white police officers shooting and killing Alton Sterling, a black man, at point-blank range while pinning him to the ground.
Early Tuesday morning, two Baton Rouge police officers were dispatched to the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive in response to a call about an unspecified "altercation.”
The Advocate reports that according to Abdullah Muflahi, the store's owner, things quickly escalated when the officers showed up on the scene and approached Sterling in an “aggressive” manner. While Sterling was allegedly in possession of a firearm at the time, WBRZ reports that Muflahi made a point of noting that he did not see the gun in Sterling's hands or see him touching his pockets during the altercation.
By the police department's account, they were called to the scene in response to a report of a man in a red shirt selling CDs illegally in front of the store. The man, the police say, was brandishing a gun.
Within minutes of arriving at the Triple S, the video, captured by a bystander and shared widely on social media, shows officers throwing Sterling to the ground and managing to pull one of his arms behind his back, warning him not to move.
Moments later, one of the officers exclaims that Sterling has a gun and then the policeman proceeds to fire somewhere between two and four shots into the restrained man.
Warning: this video contains graphic images
Today, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William Clark said that the preliminary findings of the autopsy performed on Sterling showed that he died after receiving two gunshots to the chest and back.
In a press conference held earlier today, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a spokesperson for the Baton Rouge Police Department, said that he had not yet seen the cellphone-shot video that's making its way around the internet and that he could not confirm whether this particular video shows the police killing Sterling.
McKneely went on to say none of the officers involved in the shooting had been brought in for questioning, given that the department traditionally “[gives] officers normally a day or so to go home and think about it.”
He also added that while both officers who were called to the scene were wearing body cameras, both officers' cameras were pried loose during the confrontation.
Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, and the department plans to release their names in the morning. Meanwhile, protests are forming in Baton Rouge, and the hashtag #AltonSterling is trending on Twitter.