What is so shocking about these cop killings is not only are our law enforcement being targeted, but that they’re being killed by men who have been in the line of duty. Why do you think this is occurring?
The man who shot three police officers dead and injured three more in Baton Rouge has been named as Gavin Eugene Long, a black man from Kansas City who was ‘celebrating’ his 29th birthday today, according to reports.
Long is a former Marine who was honorably discharged after achieving the rank of sergeant, before becoming a life coach and self-styled ‘Alpha-preneur’ under the name of Cosmo Setepenra, CBS News reports.
Two of the dead police officers have also been identified as Montrell Jackson, 32, a new father and ten-year veteran of the force, and Matthew Gerald, 41, a former Marine who had joined the Baton Rouge police force a year ago.
Jackson, 32, who welcomed a son less than a year ago, celebrated his ten-year anniversary with the Baton Rouge Police Department just last month and was once injured helping to save a toddler from a burning building, The Advocate reports.
Meanwhile Gerald was a married father-of-two who had been working on his own for just 12 days before he was gunned down, according to Fox News 8 New Orleans.
Shortly before he died, Jackson wrote a Facebook post saying he was ‘tired physically and emotionally’, adding that ‘in uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.’
Referencing the shooting death of Alton Sterling, which started protests in the city two days ago, he said: ‘I personally want to send out prayers to everyone directly affected by this tragedy. These are trying time. Please don’t let hate infect your heart.
‘This city must and will get better. I’m working these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to send a prayer, I got you.’
Jackson, was praised by friend Darnell Murdock, who said: ‘He loved his job. It motivated him to go out and change people’s lives. He was on (the force) to help people, to make you have a better day.
‘He was humble, kind and sweet. … He wasn’t on there to write tickets. I don’t understand how this could happen to someone like him.’
Officers are continuing to hunt down two more suspects who were said to be ‘on the run’, but it looks increasingly likely that the gunman, who was dressed in black and carrying an assault rifle, acted alone.
A robot was used to check the man’s body for explosives after he was shot dead outside a B-Quik convenience store on Airline Highway.
A third sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed has not yet been named, though his age was given as 45 and he was also married. The three injured police officers have also not been identified. A 41-year-old is in a critical condition in hospital, while two others – aged 51 and 41 – are stable.
Speaking after the shooting, Gov. John Bel Edwards said: ‘It’s unjustified, it’s unjustifiable, the violence, the hatred just has to stop,’ he said.
‘It’s unspeakable that these men, risking their lives to protect and serve, were taken out in the way they were. ‘They are everyday heroes.
‘I want tor reassure everyone that we are doing everything humanly possible so that everyone is protected. Everything will be done to bring the shooter, or shooters if there’s more than one, to justice.
‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and it has to stop,’ Gov Edwards added.
‘The people who carried this out do not represent the city of Baton Rouge, or the State of Louisiana or this country.
‘There simply is no place for more violence, it doesn’t help anyone, it doesn’t help any injustice perceived or real, it is just another injustice. We are not going to tolerate more hate and violence tearing apart the lives and families of people in Louisiana.’
Baton Rouge Police Cpl. L’Jean McKneely Jr said the shooting took place outside and possibly inside the B-Quik convenience store on Airline Highway. The suspect’s body was found next door, outside of a fitness center, he said.
According to the Advocate, an officer made a report over a police radio at around 8.45am saying that a ‘lady who came up and said there was a suspect walking with a … and an assault rifle out here behind the store’.
Two minutes later, another officer was heard shouting: ‘Shots fired, officer down, shots fired, officer down!’
Another yelled: ‘Got a city officer down, shots fired! Shots fired on Airline! I don’t know where he’s f***ing shooting from.’
Police officers also described the man as wearing a mask and ‘carrying an A-R’ in the radio messages.
An injured officer is then heard shouting that he has been shot in the left arm, and moments later cops radio in that they have seen a ‘second’ gunman.
Two of the dead are Baton Rouge police officers, while the third is a sheriff’s deputy in East Baton Rouge, an official said.
A video taken by a bystander at the scene captured the panic as gunshots rang out.
Another showed police officers brandishing rifles as they ran towards the scene.
‘All we know at this time is that there was a shooting. We believe there were multiple suspects. one suspect is deceased. Multiple officers were shot. We do have some that were killed,’ Baton Rouge Police Corporal L’Jean McKneely said.
He also appealed for help tracking down any remaining suspects. ‘If they are wearing army fatigues, if they are wearing all black, if they are wearing a mask, if they are wearing anything that’s out there, please, give us a call,’ he added.
Two hospitals are on lockdown, with armed police officers guarding all entrances.