JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Veda Washington-Abusaleh was extremely emotional about the shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sunday that left three law enforcement officers dead and three in the hospital.
Washington-Abusaleh is Alton Sterling’s aunt. Sterling was seen on video being shot and killed by police early this month.
In reaction to the shooting in Baton Rouge, Washington-Abusaleh said getting justice for Sterling’s death and other black men killed by police does not mean more bloodshed.
Thousands of calls are flooding into the Baton Rouge Police Department Sunday night, offering up prayers and condolences. The support is stretching globally, as unrest spans the nation.
"I'm stunned. I feel like we're safe? Uh, I'm just, I don't feel like we're safe. I don't feel, I mean, I feel horrible for the cops, you know, for the whole police force, just in general. I'm really stunned. I never, I never, just stunned," one person said.
It was a tense morning. Police said a man wearing all black and a mask was seen walking around with a rifle. Dispatch got the call just before 8:40 a.m.
"What I witnessed as I walked around the fence and saw a man laying on the ground in a red shirt that wasn't a police officer and he's in a parking lot, an empty parking lot, with another gunman running away as more shots were being fired back and forth from several guns. And then about 45 seconds later that's when police started to pull up on the scene,” said Brady Vancel, a witness to the shooting.
Eight minutes passed and six officers were shot. Then emergency medical services crews arrived. Three of the officers died, one was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The other two are expected to be OK.
It’s unclear what motivated the gunman to shoot at police. Sterling, an African-American man shot and killed by police less than two weeks ago, has amplified the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Washington-Abusaleh, said they chant "no justice, no peace" but said justice won’t come through more death.
"At the end of the day, when these people call their families, and they tell them that their daddies and mommies aren’t coming home, I know how they feel. Because I got the same phone call. No justice, no peace. That’s what we’re calling for. Stop this killing. Stop this killing. Stop this killing," Washington-Abusaleh said.