Marine Corps veteran identified as suspect in fatal shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge – Los Angeles Times
An armed man identified by law enforcement as “a black separatist” attacked police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning, killing three officers and injuring three others.
The suspect in the shooting, a Marine Corps veteran with service in Iraq, was been shot by police. Authorities said they have no information about any additional suspects, but were continuing to investigate the possibility of accomplices.
Baton Rouge police officers and East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies were attacked at about 9 a.m. on Airline Highway, less than a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Department’s headquarters, according to Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.
“We do believe the person who shot and killed our officers, he is the person who is shot and killed. We don’t believe we have any shooters holed up,” said Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police.
Police said two persons of interest were picked up after the shooting and brought to the east Baton Rouge violent crime unit for questioning.
The gunman was identified as Gavin E. Long, a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. according to U.S. law enforcement sources. One law enforcement official identified him as “a black separatist.”
Long’s Marine Corps service record shows he deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009 and earned the Marine Corps’ good conduct and Iraq campaign medals.
His duty assignments included service at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot San Diego; the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; the Marine Corps Communications Electric School at Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan; and the Marine Aircraft Group 38, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
The attack comes at a time of heightened racial tensions in Baton Rouge and across the country. On July 5, Baton Rouge police fatally shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, sparking protests and triggering a Justice Department civil rights investigation. A day later, a police officer in Minneapolis fatally shot Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, during a traffic stop. On July 7, a gunman saying that he was seeking revenge for Sterling and Castile’s deaths killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas.
In another of a series of addresses to the nation over race and violence, President Obama said the motive of the gunman was not yet known.
“Justice will be done,” he pledged.
“Regardless of motive, the death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every singe day,” he added. “Attacks on police are an attack on all of us, and the rule of law that makes society possible.”
The attack occurred as police were responding to a call of a suspicious person with an assault rifle walking down Airline Highway.
Two Baton Rouge police officers were killed: a 41-year-old with less than a year on the force and a 32-year-old 10-year veteran. A 45-year-old East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy was also killed.
Of the three injured, a 41-year-old sheriff’s deputy remained in critical condition, while a 51-year-old deputy and 41-year-old police officer suffered non-life threatening injuries and were in stable condition, authorities said.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said the deputies were all married with children.
During the briefing and in interviews, police released a timeline of events leading up to the shooting.
The suspect was initially spotted by police at a convenience store who reported seeing him behind a beauty supply store at 8:40 a.m. near where the shooting would later occur armed with a rifle and wearing all black, Cain said.
Two minutes later, police received a report of shots fired.
“Supposedly a lady came up and said there’s a subject walking with a coat and an assault rifle out here behind the store,” an officer could be heard saying in a recording of the police radio channel posted to Broadcastify.com.
Two minutes after the initial report came another: officers down. A minute later, a report of more shots fired. When police arrived at the scene, the suspect opened fire.
“Shots fired, officer down!” the officer said on the radio. “Shots fired, officer down! Got a city officer down! Shots fired! Shots fired on Airline!”
By 8:46 a.m., the suspect was seen standing by a car wash next to a beauty supply store, Edmonson said, and minutes later, police responded and located him.
“Officers engaged the subject at that particular time and he ultimately died at the scene,” Edmonson said.
Police scanners showed police responding to a report of a man armed with an assault rifle near the B-Quik store on Airline Highway across the street from Hammond Aire Plaza.
Several federal agencies are assisting with the investigation, including the ATF, FBI and U.S,
“This is not so much about gun control as it is about what’s in men’s hearts,” Gautreaux said. “If we don’t come together and end this madness, surely we will perish as a people.”
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie choked up as he discussed the shooting.
“This is not going to tarnish this city or this department,” Dabadie said. “We will get through this.”
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Kip Holden, a black Democrat, urged the community to support law enforcement.
“We are one family, all seeking justice for all of our people,” he said.
During the news briefing, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards emphasized that the investigation is ongoing, as is the struggle of law enforcement.
“One of them right now is fighting for his life,” Edwards said.
Earlier in the day, he met with the families of the officers who were shot.
“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” he said. “The people who carried out this attack do not represent the people of Baton Rouge.”
Protests have taken place on Airline Highway since the death of Sterling on July 5, though there appeared to be no protest taking place at the time of Sunday’s shooting.