A 37-year-old man was shot and killed by a Louisiana police officer during an altercation in front of a convenience store, officials said.
Medical examiners determined Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge died Tuesday due to multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, the Associated Press reported.
The shooting sparked protests outside the store after footage of the cell phone video that appeared to capture part of the incident spread online.
Officers responded to the scene around 12:35 a.m. Tuesday after a 911 caller said a man in a red shirt selling CDs was threatening him with a gun, Cpl. L'Jean McKneely said in a news release.
Two police officers were involved in some type of altercation with Sterling before he was shot, McKneely said. Both officers have been placed on leave, which is standard police protocol pending an investigation into the shooting.
The store's owner, Abdul Muflahi, told The Advocate that he saw the officers — who were not immediately identified — tackle Sterling and hit him with a taser. After Sterling was pinned to the ground, one officer yelled "gun," and then one of them fired four to six shots, Muflahi said.
One of the officers did pull a gun from Sterling's pocket, but his hand was nowhere near it at the time of the shooting, Muflahi told The Advocate.
The video footage shows Sterling being tackled by the two officers, but it's not clear if he's holding anything. An officer can then be seen firing at least one round into Sterling before the camera veers away and four more shots are heard.
Warning: The video contains graphic images:
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond released a statement following the incident in which he called the footage "deeply troubling."
He said there were "a number of unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Sterling's death" and called for a "full and transparent" investigation into the shooting.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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