Police ID suspects arrested after federal raid at BR home tied to murder plot against police

7 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, July 12 2016 Jul 12, 2016 July 12, 2016 5:39 PM July 12, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

**Note: The original photo for Antonio Thomas sent by BRPD was not the correct person. The above photo of Thomas has since been corrected and updated. 

BATON ROUGE - The raid of a home Monday and a pawn shop burglary last week are connected to the arrests of three people who said they were going to kill police at protests for Alton Sterling, the WBRZ Investigative Unit learned from sources.

17-year-old Antonio Thomas, 23-year-old Trashone Coats, 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater and a 13-year-old male have been arrested in connection to the burglary. Thomas, Bridgewater and the juvenile were booked into parish prison for simple burglary and theft of a firearm and Coats was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.

"This was substantial, credible information that we received that was going to cause harm to police officers in the Baton Rouge are," State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson said at a press conference Tuesday evening.  

Monday, federal authorities raided a home in Old South Baton Rouge. A WBRZ news crew recorded video of agents with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, sheriff's deputies and Baton Rouge Police going through the home a block off Highland Road. The homeowner said one weapon was removed from the home, and confirmed he was questioned by authorities. The person living there said he was letting someone live at the home for free and that person was gone when the home was raided Monday shortly after 5 p.m. A source close to the investigation said the person who was staying at the home was later arrested. The suspect's name was not immediately available.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said the authorities were working leads on a Government Street pawn shop burglary that happened after Sterling was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, July 5. Eight weapons were stolen, and Thomas, who was apprehended at the scene, told investigators during questions that the guns and ammunition were stolen to be able to shoot and kill police during protests. Six of the guns have been recovered, however police are still working to recover the remaining two.

"We follow up on every single one of them," Edmonson said in regard to a question about threats made against officers. "Here's an actual incident where an individual said that these guns were aimed at killing Baton Rouge Police officers, and when I say poice officers, I mean any police officer in the Baton Rouge area."

The raid on the home Monday evening was part of a federal search warrant, WBRZ learned.

At the press conference, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux also addressed concerns from the public about why officers were wearing riot gear at demonstrations across the city.

"Several times in the last 3 or 4 days, we've all been asked numerous times by numerous individuals why the show of force? We couldn't say; we wouldn't say because of the investigation going on but what you saw in the response is because of the very real, viable threats against law enforcement," the sheriff explains. "All I can say beyond that is look what happened in Dallas."

Since Tuesday, protesters have gathered at the store in North Baton Rouge where Sterling was shot and killed, city hall in downtown, Baton Rouge Police Headquarters on Airline Highway, Government Street near downtown and Cortana Mall. In Dallas, Texas, police were shot and killed during a peaceful rally where people had gathered to protest black men being shot and killed by police recently.

The pawn shop burglarized, Cash America, declined to comment. The ATF, the federal agency working the case, also declined to comment. Baton Rouge Police have not responded to a request for a comment related to this story.

WBRZ is working to confirm the names of those arrested. Watch WBRZ News 2 at 6 Tuesday evening and refresh this story for updates.


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