Three suspects, including a 13-year-old boy, have been arrested for stealing guns from a pawn shop as part of plot to attack police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – while a fourth remains at large authorities said Tuesday.
Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said at a news conference that the plot, had it been carried out, would have caused “substantial harm to police in the Baton Rouge area.” Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said the plot was uncovered after a robbery on Saturday shortly after midnight at a pawn shop where eight handguns and a BB rifle were stolen. Two of the handguns have yet to be recovered, he said.
Two males, 17 year old Antonio Thomas and 20 year old Malik Bridgewater were arrested on firearms and burglary charges. A third male, 23 year old Trashone Coats was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.
A fourth, whose identity is still unknown, is believed to be still at large, along with the two missing handguns, police said.
A 13-year-old boy, whose identity was not released because he is a juvenile, was also taken into custody in connection with the pawn shop burglary, police said later in a statement.
Police said in the statement that Thomas was arrested on the roof of the pawn shop with a handgun and a BB rifle and “stated that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and were going to get bullets to shoot police.” Dabadie said Thomas disclosed “real, credible evidence” that law enforcement officers were under a serious threat.
Authorities said they couldn’t reveal more details because the investigation is active and undercover officers remain in the field, but Edmonson said that as long as a fourth suspect remains free, all local law enforcement officers are in danger.
“Our officers have been working around the clock to get these firearms off the streets of Baton Rouge.”
In a reference to the fatal shootings of five police officers after a protest last week, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid J. Gatreaux said:
“Look at what happened in Dallas, a peaceful protest. The threat speaks for itself. We can’t take anything for granted anymore”.