BATON ROUGE, La., July 12 (UPI) -- Louisiana authorities said Tuesday that they foiled what they believe was a plot by a handful of thieves to stage an attack on Baton Rouge police officers -- in the wake of the outcry over the Alton Sterling shooting.
According to investigators, four thieves broke into a Baton Rouge pawn shop on Saturday and stole eight handguns and a BB gun. One suspect was captured by police as he attempted to flee, police chief Carl Dabadie said at a news conference Tuesday.
One officer said he subsequently asked the 17-year-old suspect what he was planning.
"We're going to look for bullets to kill police officers," Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. L'Jean McKneely quoted Thomas as saying.
The capital city's police chief said Tuesday the threat against officers was credible.
"The statement was to get bullets to harm police officers in the Baton Rouge area," Dabadie said.
A second suspect was arrested later Saturday and another, a 13-year-old boy, on Monday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
The fourth suspect has not yet been captured.
The pawn shop burglary occurred four days after Alton Sterling, a local resident, was shot and killed by police during a confrontation and struggle outside of a nearby convenience store. The incident, which was captured by two witnesses with cellphones, ignited controversy nationwide.
Two days before the burglary, five police officers in Dallas were killed by who officials believe was a rogue gunman at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, which spoke out against police violence similar to that which killed Sterling.
"We have been questioned repeatedly over the last several days about our show of force and why we have the tactics we have. Well, this is the reason. We had credible threats to the lives of law enforcement in this city," Dabadie said.
Police said they have recovered most of the eight stolen handguns.
"We ask that suspect, you know who you are, please turn yourself in," Dabadie said. "Please come on in, You won't be harmed. ... that way we can recover the rest of the firearms that were taken in this case."