Suspect Identified in Fatal Shooting of 3 Police Officers in Baton Rouge, La.

East Baton Rouge, La., police officers patrol Airline Highway after three police officers were killed early July 17, 2016, in Baton Rouge.
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The gunman who fatally shot three police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and wounded three others on Sunday was identified as Gavin Eugene Long.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a U.S. law-enforcement official described Long as a "black separatist."


The New York Times reports that Long was a Marine veteran who had served in Iraq.

Long turned 29 the day of the shooting, USA Today notes, according to multiple reports. He was shot and killed at the scene, and as of Sunday evening, no motive for the shootings had been revealed.


“There is not an active-shooter scenario in Baton Rouge," Col. Michael Edmonson, superintendent of the state police, said at a Sunday-afternoon news conference. “We do believe that the person that shot and killed our officers—that he is the person who was shot and killed at the scene."

On Sunday night, authorities identified the three officers who were killed in the attack, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola was a 24-year veteran of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, a spokesperson for the office confirmed. Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald, 41, had served the department for less than a year. Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, was earlier identified by his family as one of the victims. Jackson served the department for 10 years. In addition, a 41-year-old city police officer and a 51-year-old sheriff's deputy suffered non-life-threatening injuries, while a 41-year-old sheriff's deputy was still in critical condition following surgery.


“We will continue to do our job in light of what’s happening,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said at the news conference. "This is not going to tarnish this city or this department. We’re going to move forward."

A police spokesperson told the Associated Press that two "persons of interest" had been apprehended near Baton Rouge in the aftermath of the shooting, according to USA Today.


“It’s an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts," Edmonson said.

The shootings unfolded at around 8:40 a.m. Sunday morning, less than a mile from police headquarters, USA Today notes.


One witness working a flooring job at a home near the scene, 22-year-old Brady Vancel, said that he heard dozens of popping sounds, initially unaware that it was actually gunfire.

"I didn't  think it was gunshots because there was no pattern or anything," he said. "But after about the 28th pop, I wanted to check it out."


Vancel walked toward a Party City store where, he says, he saw a man, wearing plain clothes, lying still in an empty parking lot. Some distance away, Vancel said, he saw a man running toward him, carrying a rifle, prior to police arriving on the scene. Vancel said that the man was wearing all black with a black mask over his face.

"The only thing my eyes kind of locked on was the rifle he was carrying," Vancel said.


The man stopped and looked at Vancel before turning and running in the opposite direction. Vancel said he then ran back to the house where he had been working.

President Barack Obama condemned the attack, which came just about two weeks after the attack in Dallas that left five officers dead, calling it "cowardly and reprehensible."


“Regardless of motive, the death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day," Obama said.

The president offered the full support of the federal government in separate calls to Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.


Obama also encouraged politicians, nearing the time of political conventions, to "focus on word and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further."

"We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts—all of us. We need what we saw in Dallas this week, as a community came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding," Obama said. “Someone once wrote: A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work, we have to be reminded of its existence again and again and again."


Edwards called for an end to the violence, calling the shootings "unspeakable" and "unjustified."

The shootings add to the latest of tensions in Baton Rouge following the death of Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by officers while he was pinned to the ground.

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