Baton Rouge shooting ‘tragic,’ ‘sickening’
LOUISIANA - A normally quiet Sunday morning in the state capital was shattered when a Missouri man ambushed and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others.
It was a time with police nationwide — and in Baton Rouge, in particular — have been on high alert after five officers were killed in a Dallas ambush on July 7.
Police said the shooter, identified as Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri, went on a shooting rampage on his 29th birthday before being shot and killed by police. An African-
American, Long was a former Marine who spent time in Iraq and was discharged at the rank of sergeant in 2010, according to the U.S. military.
The murder weapon was an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, police said.
Officers Montrell Jackson, 32, and Matthew Gerald, 41, of the Baton Rouge Police Department and Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department, lost their lives.
Police Chief Carroll Stelly called the deaths of these officers a tragedy and asked for prayers for their families.
“First and foremost, the members of the Rayne Police Department extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the three fallen police officers and the entire Baton Rouge community, and will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” said Stelly.
“It truly is a tragedy in our close knit law enforcement family to lose fellow officers, who also believed in serving and protecting their community as we do. Their sacrifice brings us great sorrow and they may be fallen, but not forgotten.
“Each of us has the same goal — to make our city, state and country safe. We also want to go home after each shift to our families, as each person does after a long day at work.
“These times call for unity and we ask that you join us in praying each day for our safety as we go out to serve and protect the citizens of Rayne.”
Acadia Parish Sheriff K.P. Gibson called the attack an act of domestic terrorism.
“This attack on law enforcement is sickening,” said Gibson. “Uniformed law enforcement personnel are being judged prior to the investigation into the officer-involved shooting which occurred several weeks ago. But it is not simply being judged, they are being executed because they wear a law enforcement uniform.
“The officers / deputies who were shot Sunday in Baton Rouge were not directly involved in the previous event. They were attacked because they are law enforcement.
“Let the justice system do its job and investigate. If there is criminal wrong-doing, then the officers will have to face it. But that is not the case of what happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This was simply domestic terrorism in my opinion.”
Long had assumed an extremist persona online and became increasingly outspoken after the controversial shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, according to state and federal law enforcement officials.
Long’s military record matches that of an online persona named Cosmo Setepenra, who refers to himself on his website and elsewhere on the Internet as a “spiritual advisor,” life coach and author.
Setepenra’s online biographies match the Pentagon’s description of Long’s service in the Marines.
Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) has created the In the Line of Duty Fund in response to the tragic shooting. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible and 100 percent of all contributions will be given to those officers and their families.
Donations from individuals, corporations and others may be made online at cfacadiana.org/inthelineofduty.
Checks may also be made payable and mailed to Community Foundation of Acadiana (Memo: In The Line of Duty Fund), 1035 Camellia Blvd., Suite 100, Lafayette, LA 70508.
For more information about the In the Line of Duty Fund, please call Raymond J. Hébert at 337.769.4848.