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Baton Rouge bishop: ‘Love will triumph over hate’

A police officer directs traffic as the scene of the shootings is investigated (AP)

The Bishop of Baton Rouge has offered prayers and support to the families of the three police officers shot dead in the city on Sunday.

In a statement, Bishop Robert Muench said that “prayer is a powerful path to follow when tragedy happens, but even the most devout of us sometime question: ‘What good could come of this?'”

He continued: “Only the Word of God has the answer to the questions that shake our faith: The answer is our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus, hope ultimately triumphs over despair; love ultimately triumphs over hate; and resurrection ultimately triumphs over death.”

A former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition shot and killed three Baton Rouge police officers, less than two weeks after a black man was fatally shot by police there in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests that reverberated across America and following the killing of five Dallas police officers by a sniper on July 7.

The three officers killed on Sunday have been identified as Montrell Jackson, 32, and Matthew Gerald, 41, of the Baton Rouge Police Department, and Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office,

The attack in Baton Rouge also left three other officers wounded, one critically. Police said the gunman, identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, was killed at the scene.

In his statement, Bishop Muench called for “a diocesan-wide week of prayer and fasting as we reflect on the events of the last several days, and as we work toward a lasting peace in our communities.”

“Words cannot express the emotions we feel for those who have lost loved ones in the tragic events of this day. Their entire lives have been unexpectedly and terribly turned upside down,” the bishop said.