The cycle of violence has yet to end in the southern US as a disgruntled man from Missouri attacked members of the Baton Rouge Police Department and Louisiana State Police on Sunday July 17, leaving three officers dead and wounding three more before finally being shot dead in a gun battle. This comes in the wake of police all over the country going on high alert after a similar ambush attack in Dallas last July 7 killed 5 lawmen.
The suspect was identified as Gavin Long, an African-American, former Marine sergeant and Iraq War veteran who was discharged in 2010, a US military source tells CNN.
Investigation reveals that Long, who was celebrating his birthday that same Sunday, ambushed three law enforcers while armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing two Baton Rouge officers and one deputy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, before going on a shooting rampage that was responded to by law enforcement from both city and state. Long was able to seriously wound a second deputy and injure a third and one more police officer before finally being taken down.
Although the Baton Rouge PD have yet to issue an official statement giving the names of the casualties of the shooting incident, anonymous sources within the department, family members and social media have identified the fatalities as Matthew Gerald, Brad Garafola, and Montrell Jackson. Officer Jackson had recently called for an end to hatred on his Facebook account, expressing his concern regarding protests in Baton Rouge over the killing of Alton Sterling by arresting police in the city last July 5, and how he and fellow officers have been seen with suspicion and fear in the aftermath.
The suspect Long is well known in social media, where he uses the handle Cosmo Setepenra. He has been advocating violent resistance against police brutality, going so far as to praise the actions of Army reservist Micah Johnson, who similarly attacked officers in Dallas in reaction to the recent police shootings, until killed by a bomb disposal RC vehicle carrying C4.
Condemnation of the latest shooting and the chain of incidents that have brought it about came from multiple quarters. The mother of Alton Sterling’s son, Quinyetta McMillon, gave her own admonition to the exchange of violence through her lawyers. President Barack Obama also had words to say regarding both the police killings and the ambushes on law enforcement from the White House press room, and in an earlier written statement he described the shootings at Baton Rouge as “cowardly and reprehensible”.
Gavin Long was reported by investigators as not being alone during his stay at Baton Rouge prior to his attack on police, and the FBI is currently checking names of his possible associates.
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