The Latest: Biden tries to comfort slain officers' relatives

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) " The Latest on a vigil ceremony for three law enforcement officers who were shot and killed by a lone gunman outside a Baton Rouge convenience store on July 17 (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden says 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."

During a memorial service Thursday at a Baton Rouge church, Biden spoke directly to relatives of the fallen officers. 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."

An Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, 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.

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."

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3:10 p.m.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says Americans can pay tribute to the sacrifices of three slain law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge by standing together in unity and rejecting resentment and anger.

Lynch hailed the officers as heroes during a memorial vigil Thursday at a Baton Rouge church. Vice President Joe Biden also is addressing the hundreds who gathered for the ceremony.

Lynch said it can feel as if the world is "broken beyond repair" after tragedies like the July 17 shooting that killed Baton Rouge police officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald and sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola.

But she said the gathering shows the community is united by "collective heartache" and a "common humanity."

Lynch is scheduled to remain in Baton Rouge through Friday afternoon to meet with local police officials and other first responders.

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1:30 p.m.

Hundreds of people are gathering at a Baton Rouge church for a vigil honoring three law enforcement officers who were killed during a shootout with a lone gunman outside a convenience store.

Rosie Hernandez, whose nephew who is a Baton Rouge police officer, and her husband found seats Thursday inside the church where Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be speaking. The 62-year-old said she is confident that the vigil will help heal and unite a community that has been grappling with racial tensions.

The officers' shootings on July 17 occurred less than two weeks after a black man, 37-year-old Alton Sterling, was shot and killed during a struggle with two white police officers, triggering protests that led to nearly 200 arrests.

Baton Rouge police officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson and sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola were killed by the gunman. Three other officers were injured. The slain officers' wives also are scheduled to speak at the vigil.

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2:45 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch are scheduled to speak at a Baton Rouge vigil honoring the three law enforcement officers who were killed by a lone gunman during a shootout outside a convenience store.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and relatives of the slain officers also are expected to speak at Thursday's ceremony at Healing Place Church, where a funeral was held last Friday for Baton Rouge police Officer Matthew Gerald.

Gerald, sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola and police officer Montrell Jackson were shot and killed July 17 by 29-year-old Gavin Long, an Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri. Long also wounded three other officers before a SWAT officer gunned him down.

Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier was critically wounded and remains in a hospital.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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