Biden Tries to Comfort Relatives of Slain Louisiana Officers | NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Biden Tries to Comfort Relatives of Slain Louisiana Officers

Biden attended the service alongside Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and the officers' widows

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    (L-R) Matthew Gerald, 41, Montrell Jackson, 32 and Brad Garafola,45, of the Baton Rouge Police Department were fatally shot by gunman Gavin Long in an ambush-style shooting on July 17, 2016.

    The gunman's bullets that killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge also targeted the country and "touched the soul of an entire nation," Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday at a memorial service for the fallen officers. 

    "We need to heal," said Biden, who was joined at a Baton Rouge church by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, the officers' widows and hundreds of others. 

    Biden spoke directly to three officers' relatives from the stage. He promised them that a day will come when the memory of their loved ones will "bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye." 

    "They were defined by their courage," he said. "It matters who they were, and it matters who we are as a country." 

    Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    [NATL] Dangerous Flash Floods, Landslides Wipe Through Peru

    El Nino rains that followed a terrible drought in Peru led to mudslides, flooding and overflowing rivers. The floods have displaced more than 100,000 people and have killed scores across the country. Meteorologists worry that it could get worse, as more rain is expected through April.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    Baton Rouge police officers Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32, and sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola, 45, were shot and killed by Gavin Long, an Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, outside a convenience store on July 17. 

    Authorities say the gunman was targeting police officers. 

    "When that assassin's bullet targeted our heroes — and he was an assassin — he not only targeted them, he targeted the city. He targeted his country, and it touched the soul of the entire nation," Biden said. 

    Long, 29, also wounded three other officers before a SWAT officer gunned him down. Long killed the officers less than two weeks after protests erupted in Baton Rouge over the death of Alton Sterling, a 29-year-old black man who was shot and killed during a scuffle with two white police officers. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet. 

    Girl Saved During Hurricane Katrina Reunites With Rescuer

    [NATL] Girl Saved During Hurricane Katrina Reunites With Rescuer

    During Hurricane Katrina, Master Sergeant Michael Maroney was a pararescue jumper, flying over New Orleans picking up survivors in the devastating aftermath of the 2005 disaster, when he saw a little girl -- LaShay Brown -- below. 

    Brown was stranded without food or water when Maroney found her. On Saturday at her Junior ROTC Ball in Waveland, Mississippi, she reuinted with her rescuer.

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    Biden said he heard that Sterling's aunt embraced the father of one of the slain officers during a chance encounter after the shooting. He said they prayed together because "loss is loss is loss." 

    Lynch said it can feel as if the world is "broken beyond repair" after tragedies like the deadly shootout in Baton Rouge. But she said the gathering shows the community is united by "collective heartache" and a "common humanity." 

    Watch Un-Bear-Ably Cute Pandas Play on Slide

    [NATL] Watch Un-Bear-Ably Cute Pandas Play on Slide

    A young panda cub at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding tried to climb a slide. He wasn’t successful, but hopefully he’ll learn to climb it soon. In 2016, 30 panda cubs were born here at the center, moving them off of the "Endangered" species list to "vulnerable."

    (Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

    Lynch is scheduled to remain in Baton Rouge through Friday afternoon to meet with local police officials and other first responders. The Justice Department is investigating Sterling's death. The two officers involved in that July 5 shooting were placed on administrative leave. 

    Rosie Hernandez, whose nephew who is a Baton Rouge police officer, and her husband found seats Thursday inside the church where the vigil is being held. The 62-year-old said she is confident that the ceremony will help unite a community that has been grappling with racial tensions. 

    Forbes Ranks the Richest People in the World in 2017

    [NATL] Forbes Ranks the Richest People in the World in 2017

    Forbes released its 31st annual ranking of the world's billionaires Monday. These are the five wealthiest individuals in 2017. Forbes.com has more.  

     

     

    (Published Monday, March 20, 2017)

    "Out of this tragedy, the hope is that we will become a closer community," she said. 

    Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier was critically wounded and has remained in a hospital since the shooting. 

    Collegiate Images/Getty Images

    Jackson, a corporal, was a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department. He was married and had a 4-month-old son. Days before he was shot to death, Jackson posted a message on Facebook about the difficulties of being both a black man and a police officer in the tumultuous aftermath of Sterling's shooting. 

    "Please don't let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better," wrote Jackson, whose funeral was Monday. 

    Weekend Wildfire Burns in Boulder County, Colo.

    [NATL] Weekend Wildfire Burns in Boulder County, Colo.

    In Colorado, a small wildfire near Boulder has forced thousands of people out of their homes. More than 60 acres went up in flames early Sunday. Only a fraction of the fire was contained by the afternoon.

    (Published Monday, March 20, 2017)

    Garafola, whose funeral was Saturday, is survived by a wife and four children: sons ages 21 and 12, and daughters ages 15 and 7. 

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Garafola "went down fighting," with surveillance video showing him firing at the gunman as bullets hit the concrete around him. 

    Gerald was a former Marine and Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq before joining the police force nine months ago. His wife, Dechia Gerald — now a widow with two young daughters — called him "my blue-eyed rock" in a written tribute. She expressed hope that his legacy will "bridge the gap and foster peace in the country he lived, loved and died for."