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Monday, January 19, 1998 Published at 21:13 GMT

World: Americas

Man shot dead at Martin Luther King parade
image: [ Pandemonium breaks out after the shooting ]
Pandemonium breaks out after the shooting

One person has been shot dead at a parade in Louisiana to honour the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Shots were fired into a crowd of marchers. Three children were injured during the incident in Baton Rouge which took place on King Day - the United States' annual nationwide celebration of the murdered civil rights leader's birthday.

[ image: One of the injured children is taken to hospital]
One of the injured children is taken to hospital
The dead man was 25-years-old. A six-year-old girl was critically injured with a gunshot wound in the back. An 11-year-old girl was said to be in a serious condition with gunshot wounds to the leg and hand. A nine-year-old boy was described as stable with a leg wound.

Police are searching for at least one gunman, who was believed to be black.

"The only thing we know at this point is that a man in an orange looking shirt came out of the crowd and started shooting," said Corporal Charles Armstrong.

The motive was believed to be personal, not racial or political, he said. All the victims were black and the shooting may have been a result of a fight among the marchers.

[ image: The Rev. Martin Luther King]
The Rev. Martin Luther King
"We watched them go by, and everyone seemed as happy as could be until the shooting happened," said Elaine Tucker, office manager for a locksmith shop.

"It went pop, pop, pop, pop - four shots right off. Then people began running everywhere."

Dr King was shot dead by an assassin in 1968.

Clinton marks Martin Luther King Day

President Clinton took a paint roller to the walls of a high school classroom on Monday to highlight his call for service in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday.

The President, who last week urged Americans to remember the slain civil rights leader with a day of service on the holiday celebrating King's birthday, spent part of his morning painting literature classroom 306 at Washington's Cardozo High School.

"We really wanted to emphasise that Martin Luther King's birthday is a day of service - a day on, not a day off," he said.

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