Another attack on police has rocked the nation that has already been on edge since the Dallas shooting that claimed the lives of five officers.  At 8:40am on July 17th, 29-year-old Gavin Long, from Kansas City, Missouri, shot six Baton Rouge-area police officers.  Three of the officers died and three more were hospitalized, one critically.

Of the officers that died, two were members of the Baton Rouge Police Department; the third worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Long died in a shootout with police at the scene.  Baton Rouge has been experiencing ongoing protests following the officer-involved killing of Alton Sterling less than two weeks before on July 5.

On the morning of the shooting, police received a call about a suspicious person carrying a rifle on Airline Highway near Hammond Aire Plaza.   When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man clad in black and wearing a face mask behind the Hair Crown Beauty Supply store.  Within minutes shots were fired at the responding officers and reports of officers down were received.  The remaining officers fired on the gunman from behind the cover of patrol cars and killed him.

The shooter was later identified as Gavin Long, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from August 2005 to August 2010 before being honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.   He was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009 and was also assigned to units in San Diego, California, and Okinawa, Japan.  According to local court records, Long had no criminal record and was divorced.

In May 2015, Gavin Long changed his legal name to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra.  He operated a YouTube channel under the name Cosmo Setepenra, arguing about oppression against blacks and police protests. At one point, he called the shootings of five Dallas police officers less than two weeks prior an act of “justice”.  He also claimed to be a former Nation of Islam member and referred to Alton Sterling, a black man killed by Baton Rouge police officers on July 5, in online videos.

The officers killed were identified as Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, who had been with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office since 1992; Officer Matthew Gerald, 41, a former Marine who had been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for four months and Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, who had been with the department since 2006.

Sadly the day after the Dallas killings, Officer Montrell Jackson had voiced his frustrations in a facebook post.  He wrote “I’m tired physically and emotionally.  Disappointed in some family, friends and officers for some reckless comments but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart.   I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same.  Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me or my wife, it was much needed and much appreciated.  I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.  I’ve experienced so much in my short life and the past 3 days have tested me to the core.  When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t really know you at all.  Look at my actions, they speak LOUD and CLEAR.  Finally, I personally want to send prayers out to everyone directly affected by this tragedy.  These are trying times.  Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer I got you.”  His post has since gone viral.

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