The man, who was wearing black, was seen firing indiscriminately at around 9am as he walked out between a shop and a car wash, a witness told WBRZ.
Police received a 911 call reporting a 'suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle', the source said. At least one gunman is said to have opened fire when cops arrived.
A suspect has been shot dead and police say two others may be at large following what appears to have been an ambush.
Three officers have been confirmed dead. Four more have been injured and one is in a critical condition in hospital.
The shooting took place less than a mile from Baton Rouge's police headquarters.
Three police officers have been killed after at least six were shot by a masked gunman in Baton Rouge. Pictured, police running at the scene
The man, who was wearing black, was seen firing indiscriminately at around 9am as he walked out between a shop and a car wash, a witness said. Pictured, police at the scene
Police received a 911 call reporting a 'suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle'. Pictured, police at the scene
It is not clear if any other officers were injured in the mass shooting.
A spokeswoman for East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office told the Advocate that the area remains an active scene. The Airline Highway has been shut down.
'Three law enforcement are confirmed dead, three others injured. One suspect is dead, law enforcement believes two others may be at large,' a statement on East Baton Rouge Police's Facebook page said.
Two of the dead are Baton Rouge police officers, while the third is a sheriff's deputy in East Baton Rouge, an official said.
A video taken by a bystander at the scene captured the panic as gunshots rang out.
Another showed police officers brandishing rifles as they ran towards the scene.
'All we know at this time is that there was a shooting. We believe there were multiple suspects. one suspect is deceased. Multiple officers were shot. We do have some that were killed,' Baton Rouge Police Corporal L'Jean McKneely said.
Two hospitals are on lockdown, with armed police officers guarding all entrances.
People living in nearby homes have been told to stay indoors.
Three officers have been confirmed dead and three more have been injured, with one in a critical condition. Pictured, police at the scene in Baton Rouge
The shooting took place less than a mile from Baton Rouge's police headquarters. Pictured, police on scene
President Obama has been briefed on the situation, the White House said.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said: ‘This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing.
‘Rest assured, every resource available to the State of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice.
‘For now, I’m asking all Louisianans to join Donna and me in praying for the officers who were involved and their families as the details continue to unfold.’
Police in Baton Rouge were on high alert earlier this week after a gang - including a boy aged just 13 - were arrested as they tried to steal handguns as part of a 'substantial, credible threat' to harm police officers in Baton Rouge.
Authorities discovered the alleged plot while responding to a burglary at a pawn shop early on June 9.
They arrested one suspect - Antonio Thomas, 17 - at the scene with a handgun and a BB gun.
During questioning, Thomas said that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and 'were going to get bullets to shoot police,' authorities said.
On Tuesday, the chief also confirmed that Thomas told police that 'the reason the burglary was being done was to harm police officers'.
Malik Bridgewater, 20 and Trashcone Coats, 23, were also arrested, as was the 13-year-old boy. The three named suspects are black.
Two of the dead are Baton Rouge police officers, while the third is a sheriff's deputy in East Baton Rouge, an official said. Police are pictured blocking off the road
Police rushed to the scene after the man was spotted walking down the highway brandishing a rifle
Alton Sterling was shot by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 12 days before Sunday's shooting
The shooting comes 12 days after Sterling was shot dead outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge by two police officers.
Sterling was armed but his handgun was in his pocket and the footage does not appear to show him reaching for it.
His shooting on July 5 - and that of Philando Castile in St Paul, Minnesota, the next day - led to nationwide protests over the treatment of black people by the police.
Over the weekend, thousands of people took to the streets in Baton Rouge to condemn Sterling's death, including hundreds of demonstrators who congregated outside the police station.
Authorities arrested about 200 people over the three-day weekend.
A peaceful Black Lives Matter protest days after Sterling's was hijacked by Micah Johnson, who used the demonstration as an opportunity to ambush police, killing five.
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