Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.
"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."
A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.
Police say at least one of the suspects told them the goal was to acquire weapons and use them to harm police officers.
State Police Col. Mike Edmondson says police considered that a credible threat, and took it seriously.
"All of the suspects are from Baton Rouge and all are black," The Associated Press reports. "They face charges including burglary, simple burglary, and theft of a firearm; they have not been arrested on any charges related to plotting to kill police."
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said the arrests help explain the recent show of police force against protesters.
"We have been questioned repeatedly over the last several days about our show of force and why we have the tactics that we have," Dabadie said, according to the AP. "Well, this is the reason, because we had credible threats against the lives of law enforcement in this city."
Baton Rouge police showed up at protests "wielding batons, carrying long guns and wearing shields," the AP notes, and officers arrested around 200 protesters over the course of three days.