3 youths 'stole guns to kill cops'

WASHINGTON • Police in Louisiana - already rocked by the deadly police shooting of an African- American man - have arrested three black youths for stealing guns which they planned to use to kill officers.

Police said the suspects had stolen weapons from a pawn shop, and surveillance video showed the trio breaking in through the roof, Baton Rouge police said.

Antonio Thomas, 17, "stated that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and were going to get bullets to shoot police", a police statement said.

Thomas was booked into prison on charges of burglary and theft of a firearm. It was not immediately clear whether a fourth suspect was on the run.

Eight weapons were stolen. The authorities have recovered six and are working to find the other two.

The other two robbery suspects - Malik Bridgewater, 20, and an unidentified 13-year-old boy - were charged with burglary and theft of a firearm.

Police also arrested Trashone Coats, 23, who allegedly purchased two handguns illegally on the street. He was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.

The suspects were arrested at various times during the investigation, although Thomas was arrested on the scene.

Police said they had worked in collaboration with Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Thousands of people have demonstrated across the US against the latest fatal police shootings of two African-American men, whose dying moments were captured in video footage that went viral online.

One of those killed was Mr Alton Sterling, shot dead at point-blank range by a police officer in Baton Rouge.

Most of the protests have been peaceful, although a riot broke out at the weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota - where the second of last week's fatal shootings occurred - resulting in more than 100 arrests.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline '3 youths 'stole guns to kill cops''. Print Edition | Subscribe