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Baton Rouge Police Ambush

Baton Rouge Police Attack Follows Alton Sterling Shooting, Unrest

Baton Rouge mayor: Three officers killed 6:41

Baton Rouge confronted violence yet again on Sunday.

The dramatic attack on police officers comes less than two weeks after a black man was fatally shot by a white police officer in the city. That shooting thrust Baton Rouge into the raging national debate over policing and race, and it was soon followed by the arrest of five people in connection with a plot to kill cops.

Here's a look at the unrest that preceded the violence Sunday:

July 5: Graphic cellphone video appeared to show Alton Sterling, 37, being tackled and shot by two police officers outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store. Police said he was armed. The Department of Justice quickly opened an investigation into the shooting of Sterling, who was black. Officials identified the officers as Blane Salamoni, a four-year department veteran, and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran — both of them white. It wasn't clear whether both officers shot Sterling or which one fired the fatal shot. They have been placed on administrative leave.

Full Video: Cell Phone Footage Purports to Show Deadly Police Shooting 0:54

July 6: As protests erupted in Baton Rouge over the shooting of Sterling, another black man was shot and killed in Minnesota during a traffic stop. The aftermath of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, 32, was also captured on video by his fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the car with him along with her daughter. The St. Anthony police officer who fired at Castile while he was apparently reaching for his ID after telling the officer he was armed, was identified as Jeronimo Yanez. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton made it clear that he believed Castile's race was a factor, saying: "Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don't think it would have."

Woman Streams Apparent Aftermath of Traffic-Stop Shooting 1:48

July 7: Protests over the shootings of the two black men erupted — not only in Louisiana and Minnesota, but all over the country. At a protest in Dallas, which had been largely peaceful, a sniper opened fire on police officers, killing five. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said the suspect, Micah Johnson, 25, who was killed during a standoff, said he "wanted to kill white people, especially white officers."

July 8-10: As the nation mourned the Dallas officers killed, protests over Sterling and Castile's deaths continued all over the country. More than 100 were arrested in Baton Rouge and about the same amount of people were arrested in St. Paul.

Image: Baton Rouge protests
Police and sheriff's deputies march down a street Sunday during protests in Baton Rouge, La. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

July 12: East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III said the "show of force" used during the protests in the city was due in part to "very real and viable threats" against Baton Rouge law enforcement officers. Three men and a 13-year-old were arrested, he said, in connection with stealing firearms from a pawn shop in a plot to kill police. One of two suspects connected with the plan, Antonio Thomas, was arrested on the roof of the pawn shop with a handgun and a BB rifle and he "stated that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and were going to get bullets to shoot police," according to a statement from the Baton Rouge Police Department.

A fifth burglary suspect remained on the loose and was thought to be in possession of two guns missing from the pawn shop, police said. "Look at what happened in Dallas — a peaceful protest, and then some madman. The threat speaks for itself. We can't take anything for granted anymore," Gautreaux said.

From left, Antonio Thomas, 17, Trashone Coats, 23, and Malik Bridgewater, 20. Baton Rouge Police

July 12, cont'd: President Barack Obama said "we're not as divided as we seem" while speaking at a memorial service for the officers killed in Dallas. "We're going to have to be honest with each other and ourselves. We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous jobs honorably and fairly, and they are deserving of our respect and not our scorn," Obama said.

July 14: Castile was laid to rest.

July 15: Sterling was laid to rest.

July 16: Another suspect, a 12-year-old, was arrested in connection with the plot to kill Baton Rouge police officers. The two guns missing from the pawn shop are not recovered with the juvenile suspect, Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. told NBC News.

July 17: Three Baton Rouge police officers were killed and three others injured in a shooting near police headquarters, the city's mayor and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said. At least one suspect is dead, but law enforcement officials believe two others may be at large, the sheriff's office said. The officers were responding to a call of shots fired when they were gunned down around 9 a.m. local time, said Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden.