The US Justice Department will lead the probe of a the police killing of a black man in the southern US state of Louisiana, following an outcry over the latest in a string of highly publicized police shootings, Baton Rouge authorities said Wednesday.

"Like you, I am demanding answers," Police Chief Carl Dabadie said. "As the US attorney leads a thorough investigation, we will assure this community that it's transparent in how it is done."

Alton Sterling, 37, was shot by police outside a convenience store early Tuesday in Baton Rouge, when officers responded to a complaint about a black male selling CDs and threatening the caller with a gun, police said.

A bystander recorded the fatal shooting on a cellphone, and the video has gone viral, leading to protests on social media. The hashtag #altonsterling was trending at number one on Twitter on Wednesday in the United States.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the video of Sterling's death "disturbing to say the least."

Dabadie identified the two officers involved in the shooting as Blane Salamoni, a four-year member of the department, and Howie Lake II, who has been on the force for three years. Both were placed on administrative leave.

Mike McClanahan, president of the local NAACP chapter, said at a press conference that Dabadie should be fired immediately or resign "if he has the guts."

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said that many have been making political statements about how the city should hand over the investigation and hold police accountable without realizing what actions city officials have already taken.

"We've already been working on this," Holden said. We don't need to be handheld and spoon-fed on doing what's right."

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