Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards expressed his dismay over a week of violence that left a Baton Rouge man and man from Minnesota dead following fatal encounters with police officers and five officers in Dallas dead at the hands of a “madman.”
“This has been a sad week for our state and our nation,” Edwards said during a Friday afternoon news conference. “We are better than this.”
Edwards gathered with law enforcement, state lawmakers and family members of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, who was killed in the parking lot of a convenience store after an altercation with Baton Rouge police officers early Tuesday morning. The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI are investigating.
Just hours before, five police officers were killed in Dallas while patroling a “Black Lives Matter” march partly inspired by Sterling’s death.
Edwards described the officer killings in neighboring Texas as the “inexplicable actions of a madman.”
“They were doing what their job requires of them, keeping people safe,” he said.
Edwards, who has held several briefings in the days since Sterling’s shooting early Tuesday morning and took part in a prayer vigil Thursday night, held a meeting with law enforcement Friday morning to talk about safety. He wouldn’t reveal details about that meeting but said he feels confident that things will remain peaceful in Baton Rouge as more protests over Sterling’s killing are planned.
“I just want the people to be as confident as I am that the Baton Rouge community, we are going to continue in a peaceful and lawful manner,” he said.
Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter @elizabethcrisp.