July 18-- Today’s Top Stories from ABC News
BATON ROUGE SHOOTING
--Three officers are dead, three others injured, in what Baton Rouge police call an ambush shooting. Police responding to reports of a man with a long gun were met by gunfire. The gunman was killed. He is identified as Gavin Long, of Kansas City, a former Marine, who chose his 29th birthday to open fire. The shooting comes less than two weeks after the shooting death of an African American man by police. Alton Sterling's funeral was this past Friday. The shooting also comes 10 days after 5 Dallas officers were killed by a sniper.
--Law enforcement sources tell ABC News that authorities are looking into videos of the alleged Baton Rouge shooter that have been posted online. One of the videos seen by a law enforcement source involves Gavin Long discussing religion, specifically at one time being a Christian and a Muslim. It appears that he used the pseudonym of Cosmo Setepenra.
--Just days before he was shot and killed, a Baton Rouge police officer posted an emotional Facebook message saying he was "physically and emotionally" tired and expressing how difficult it was to be both a police officer and a black man, a friend said Sunday. "I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me," Montrell Jackson wrote.
--President Obama says "we as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement." The president spoke after Sunday's shooting in Baton Rouge. Alton Sterling's mother is appealing for calm.
--The Republican National Convention convenes at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, to begin the process of nominating Donald Trump as the party's standard-bearer for president. Trump has called himself the law and order candidate and he has signaled he will use the tension in the country to play into the opening night theme "Make America Safe Again."
--Law enforcement officials in Cleveland have been expressing confidence in the city’s plan to protect delegates and visitors at the Republican National Convention, and while there haven’t been any major incidents as the expected 50,000 visitors began arriving this weekend, officials are prepared for tensions to rise in the coming days, especially in light of the deadly shootings of police officers in Louisiana on Sunday.
--The Nice truck attacker was not on any intelligence radar. Authorities said Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who has been described by family and friends as a troubled loner, had sent a text message saying “Bring more weapons” to another suspected accomplice and had visited the scene of the attack days before the carnage. Late Sunday night, authorities announced that they had detained the man believed to be the recipient of the text message.
--Secretary of State John Kerry says the challenge of finding and stopping people like the truck driver who plowed into a crowd is 'worse than the needle in the haystack.'
--In addition to the 6,000 rounded up over the weekend – 8,000 police officers have been suspended from duty pending investigations. An additional 1,800 special police have been brought to Istanbul from nearby cities, creating fears that the border with Syria & Iraq may be less well protected – and creating an open door for ISIS & PKK to take advantage of the situation. Turkish media says among those detained are 2nd Army Commander Gen. Adem Huduti, who was in charge of security along the Syria and Iraq borders.
--The European Union and United States say Turkey must respect democracy and human rights in its response to a failed coup. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says rule of law must prevail in Turkey at a time the government is rounding up suspects. She said Washington and Brussels agree on the need for Turkey to respect democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
A letter drafted by U.S. and Canadian anti-doping leaders urging Russia's removal from the upcoming Olympics is circulating before the public release of a report expected to detail a state-sponsored doping system that corrupted the country's entire sports program. Russia may find not only its track and field athletes, but all its athletes barred from the Rio Olympics when the WADA report is released. The letter, which U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials say would only be sent if the report details widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russia, calls for the IOC to act by July 26 to ensure that Russia's Olympic Committee and sports federations will not be allowed in Rio de Janeiro.
Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams will deliver a verdict in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice, the fourth Baltimore officer who’s facing charges in connection to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Rice, who is the highest ranking officer charged in Gray’s death, is facing charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Early on in Rice’s trial, Judge Williams dropped two charges: an assault charge and one count of misconduct in office. Williams’ verdict may hinge on a simple question: Should the officer have put a seat belt on Freddie Gray?
The Secret Life of Pets was number one at the box office for a 2nd straight weekend - a strong estimated 50.5 million bucks for the animated animal adventure. In 2nd, The Ghostbusters reboot earned an estimated 46 million.