ATF officials are investigating a firearms investigation that occurred over the weekend.
Jim Dalrymple II for BuzzFeed News
Officials in Louisiana on Tuesday said four people had broken into a pawn shop to steal guns and target police officers in Baton Rouge, where residents have been protesting the officer-involved shooting death of a black man.
Three of the four people involved had been arrested, and six of the eight stolen handguns were recovered, Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson said during a news conference.
“This was substantial, credible information that we received,” Edmonson said.
The investigation was sparked early Saturday morning when officers responded to a burglary at Cash America Pawn.
Officers were able to detain one of the four suspects that morning, and determined the burglary was part of a plan to target officers in the Baton Rouge area.
“Their goal and objective was to get bullets,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said. “I think his statement was to get bullets to harm officers in the Baton Rouge area.”
One of the suspects is still at large.
The suspects names were not immediately released, but authorities said one of them was a 13-year-old male.
The investigation comes as law enforcement across the U.S. remain on edge after Dallas police were targeted and killed by a sniper during a protest.
“We can't take anything for granted anymore,” East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
Baton Rouge has faced days of protests on its own streets after the deadly police shooting of Alton Sterling in front of a convenience store last week.
Max Becherer / AP
Cell phone video of the shooting shows Sterling being tackled by a Baton Rouge police officer, then shot as he and his partner try to retrain him on the ground.
Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards called the video “disturbing” and said he has “serious concerns” about the shooting.
The Department of Justice is also investigating the shooting for possible civil rights violations.
Dabadie said the burglary of eight handguns from the pawn shop and the threat against officers was the reason Baton Rouge police made a strong “show of force” during protests over the weekend.
Several threats had been made, he said, but the burglary was the first credible threat the department received.
“We took those threats to be credible, and we have made sure that our officers were as safe as can be,” Dabadie said.
Max Becherer / AP
As people marched in the streets, police responded in armored vehicles and officers wore heavy armor, arresting 131 people on Saturday.
Among those taken into custody were activist DeRay Mckesson and two local reporters who were covering the event.
Gautreaux said local police departments have been questioned repeatedly since Saturday about the show of force by police departments during the protests, but they were unable to explain because of the ongoing investigation.
“Look at what happened in Dallas,” Gautreaux said. “A very peaceful protest, and then some crazy mad man did what he did.”
Gautreaux said law enforcement was there during the protests to protect and serve, but had to protect its officers because one of the suspects was still outstanding, and two stolen handguns were still missing.
“This was the reason, because we had credible threats against the lives of officers in the city,” Dabadie said.
Employees at the pawn shop where the weapons were stolen, Cash America Pawn, declined to comment.