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Delegates to Republican convention in Cleveland shocked by Baton Rouge shooting, applaud cops

A demonstrator took a picture of the police line during the “Shut Down Trump & the RNC” protest on Sunday in Cleveland. The Republican National Convention starts Monday in the city.
A demonstrator took a picture of the police line during the “Shut Down Trump & the RNC” protest on Sunday in Cleveland. The Republican National Convention starts Monday in the city. The Associated Press

In Fairlawn, Ohio, where Missouri’s delegation to the Republican National Convention is headquartered, word of the Baton Rouge tragedy quickly spread among delegates. Word would break later that the shooter was identified as being from Kansas City.

At mid-afternoon delegates stood and applauded as an officer from the Fairlawn Police Department outlined security measures now in place for the convention. Officers wearing body armor patrolled the lobby of the hotel as delegates left for an evening reception.

Some delegates said they were worried about the Baton Rouge incident, but said they were more concerned about police officers across the country.

“It makes me nervous for our officers,” said Pat Thomas, a delegate from Jefferson City. “They seem to have become a target. That’s an unfortunate situation.”

Nick Myers, a delegate from southwest Missouri, said he hoped Donald Trump would emphasize law and order during this week’s convention.

“It kind of makes me nervous for the country in general,” Myers said. “Disrespect of law and order. ... Police are under attack, and as a result so is everybody else.”

An officer wearing a bulletproof vest also patrolled the lobby of the Beachwood, Ohio, hotel housing the Kansas delegation.

Kansas delegates called the Baton Rouge shootings a tragedy, but insisted it would not mar their week at the national convention.

“You can’t worry about stuff like that,” said Trump delegate Tim Shallenburger, a former Kansas House speaker. “It can happen anywhere.”

Alternate delegate and former Mission Mayor Laura McConwell said the events of recent weeks have made her cautious — but only to a point.

“I’m not going to live my life afraid,” she said.

Clay Barker, who as the party’s executive director helped organize the week in Cleveland, said delegates came to town expecting protests.

“I don’t think it (the shootings) makes them any more nervous than they were already,” he said.

Dave Helling: 816-234-4656, @dhellingkc

Steve Kraske, 816-234-4312, @stevekraske

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