BATON ROUGE, La. – A Baton Rouge police officer is clinging to life after three other officers were killed in an ambush Sunday by a masked gunman.
Police said the gunman, Gavin Long, 29, had a semi-automatic rifle strapped to his shoulder as he dodged officers while trying to kill as many of them as possible.
"There were citizens walking all through this area. He never encountered (them). He completely dismissed every single one," Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said.
Long, a former military sergeant, had two rifles and a handgun when he shot six officers, three of whom died.
One of the officers, Nicholas Tullier, is clinging to life with gunshots to his head and stomach.
Fellow officers are standing guard at the hospital's entrance after being inundated with well-wishes.
"So many of us my age have seen a lot in our lifetime, but we've never seen anything quite as tragic as this. That's happening here and around the world," Joyce Payer said.
Police have confiscated the gunman's white rental car, which he drove from his home in Kansas City, and apparently scoped out possible places to carry out the attack.
Investigators said they have yet to determine why he chose the city, although many believe it's likely because of the deadly shooting of Alton Sterling, who died at the hands of Baton Rouge police officers.
"They scared. We scared. The whole city scared -- that's the only thing that done changed," Baton Rouge resident Javier Spaulding said.
The tributes, outrage and protests only intensified when Philando Castille was killed by police days later in Minnesota.
Another shooter killed five officers in Dallas before long would murder three others in Baton Rouge.
Flags are flying at half-staff across Louisiana and memorials are growing by the minute at the crime scene -- proof that the hurt, pain and suffering still exists in the community.
"At end of the day, it's still Baton Rouge," Spaulding told Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney. "You from Miami, so you don't know, but down here it's crazy. We already going through war every day."