Authorities in Louisiana said Tuesday that a burglary at a Baton Rouge pawn shop was part of a larger conspiracy to target law enforcement officers amid protests over the fatal shooting of an African-American man by police.
At a press conference, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Endmonson told reporters the plot represented a “substantial, credible threat” against police.
Investigators believe four men broke into the pawn shop early Saturday and stole eight handguns. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said that one of the suspected robbers was captured at the scene and told officers the guns were stolen “to get bullets to harm police officers.” Dabadie said the suspect, later identified as 17-year-old Antonio Thomas, didn’t indicate when or where a possible plot would be carried out.
“We have been questioned repeatedly over the last several days about our show of force and why we have the tactics that we have. Well, this is the reason, because we had credible threats against the lives of law enforcement in this city,” Dabadie added.
The police department has come under criticism for the tactics it’s employed to deal with protesters, using riot police and military-style vehicles on the streets of the capital city. Over a three day period, police arrested about 200 protesters.
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