Roger Villere was in church Sunday morning “and my phone kept vibrating,” the Louisiana Republican Party chairman said. Villere said he did not want to check his text messages during the Catholic service, but as soon as it ended, he stepped outside and turned on his phone and saw the news: Police had been attacked in Baton Rouge. “It’s a terrible way to end a Sunday service,” Villere said after a prayerful meeting with the Louisiana GOP delegation here.
The news that three have been killed in the street’s of Louisiana’s capital shocked delegates gathered here for the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday. “It’s very heartbreaking to have this happening in your own community,” said Jason Dore, executive director of the Louisiana GOP. “Whoever did this sought to divide our community.”
In an official statement on behalf of the state party, Villere said: “This tragic shooting affects black and poor, rich and poor, civilians and public servants alike…. We send this message to those who would threatened to divide us: We are Louisiana and we will stand united and prayerful against evil.”
Most of the Louisiana GOP delegation did not find out about the shooting until they gathered here at a restaurant for their pre-convention brunch meeting. One of those attending the brunch is Col. Rob Maness, who is one of a dozen candidates in this fall’s U.S. Senate campaign in Louisiana. “I got a text on my phone,” Maness said. “It was just devastating. We are praying for the families of the fallen law enforcement officers.”
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