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UPDATE: Ex-Marine ID’d As Gunman Who Shot 3 Officers Dead, Wounded 3 More In Baton Rouge

Gavin Eugene Long, whose last known address was in Kansas City, Missouri, carried out the attack on his 29th birthday.

Officials gather in Baton Rouge on Sunday after a gunman shot and killed 3 law enforcement officers and wounded 3 more.
Officials gather in Baton Rouge on Sunday after a gunman shot and killed 3 law enforcement officers and wounded 3 more.

UPDATE 10:00 p.m.: The man who killed two police officers and a sheriff’s deputy in Baton Rouge Sunday was a former Marine sergeant who served in Iraq and had no known ties to any extremist groups.

Gavin Eugene Long, whose last known address was in Kansas City, Missouri, carried out the attack on his 29th birthday. Police say he also wounded three officers before he was killed him in the latest in a string of violent incidents involving police and the black community.

According to military records, Long was a Marine from 2005 to 2010 and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served in Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, and records show he received several medals during his military career, including one for good conduct. Long, who received an honorable discharge, was listed as a “data network specialist” in the Marines.

After the Marines, he attended the University of Alabama for one semester, in the spring of 2012, according to university spokesman Chris Bryant. University police had no interaction with Long during that time, Bryant said.

Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, said there was no information linking Long, who was black, to any known extremist group or movement, but the ADL and others were investigating Long’s possible use of aliases.

Sunday’s incident was the latest in a series of deadly encounters in the United States involving police and black men that have sparked a national debate over race and policing. It also came less than two weeks after 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man, was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests and has reverberated nationwide. Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since Sterling’s death.

In Kansas City, police converged on a small turquoise frame house listed under Long’s name. An Associated Press reporter said some officers had weapons drawn from behind trees and others were behind police cars and unmarked cars in the residential neighborhood in the southern part of the city.

Missouri court records show that a Gavin Eugene Long filed a petition for divorce from his wife in February 2011. The online court records don’t say why the couple divorced, but the petition indicates they had no children and that Long had represented himself. Three months after the divorce petition was filed, his ex-wife was granted restoration of her maiden name. Last month, on June 7, a case against Long by the city of Kansas City over unpaid city earnings taxes was dismissed.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: Three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers investigating a report of a man with an assault rifle were killed Sunday, less than two weeks after a black man was fatally shot by police here in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests that reverberated nationwide.

Three other officers were wounded, one critically. Police said the suspect was killed at the scene. The dead gunman was believed to be the only person who fired at officers, but authorities were unsure whether he had some kind of help, a state police spokesman said.

“We are not ready to say he acted alone,” Major Doug Cain said. Two “persons of interests” were detained in the nearby town of Addis. 

The shooting — which took place just before 9 a.m., less than a mile from police headquarters — came amid escalating tensions across the country between the black community and police. The races of the suspect and the officers were not immediately known.

It was the fourth high-profile deadly encounter in the United States involving police over the past two weeks. The violence has left 12 people dead, including eight police officers, and sparked a national debate over race and policing.

President Barack Obama urged Americans to tamp down inflammatory words and actions.

“We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement,” Obama said in remarks from the White House. “Every one right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.”

Authorities initially believed that other assailants might be at large, but hours later said that no other active shooters were on the loose. They did not discuss the gunman’s motive or any relationship to the wider police conflicts.

The shooting began at a gas station on Airline Highway. According to radio traffic, Baton Rouge police answered a report of a man with an assault rifle and were met by gunfire. For several long minutes, they did not know where it was coming from.

The radio exchanges were made public Sunday by the website Broadcastify.

Nearly 2½ minutes after the first report of an officer getting shot, an officer on the scene is heard saying police do not know the shooter’s location.

Almost six minutes pass after the first shots are reported before police say they have determined the shooter’s location. About 30 seconds later, someone says shots are still being fired.

The recording lasts about 17 minutes and includes urgent calls for an armored personnel carrier called a BearCat.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said the shooter was identified as Gavin Long but had no details. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

In Kansas City, police converged on a house that was listed for a Gavin Long. Some officers had weapons drawn from behind trees. Others took cover behind cars.

Gov. John Bel Edwards rushed to the hospital where the officers were taken. They were from the Baton Rouge Police Department and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.

“There simply is no place for more violence,” Edwards said. “That doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t further the conversation. It doesn’t address any injustice perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself.”

A witness told television station WAFB that he saw a masked man in black shorts and shirt running from the scene where the three officers were killed.

Brady Vancel said the man looked like a pedestrian running with a rifle in his hand, rather than someone trained to move with a rifle.

Vancel said he had gone to work on a flooring job near the gas station when he heard semi-automatic gunfire and perhaps a handgun. He saw a man in a red shirt lying in an empty parking lot and “another gunman running away as more shots were being fired back and forth from several guns.”

Of the two officers who survived the shooting, one was hospitalized in critical condition, and the other was in fair condition. Another officer was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.

Each of the officers was married and had a family, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.

The Baton Rouge attack unfolded hours after a domestic violence suspect opened fire early Sunday on a Milwaukee police officer who was sitting in his squad car. The officer was seriously wounded, and the suspect fled and apparently killed himself, authorities said.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white officers July 5 after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on widely circulated cellphone video.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. The next day, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Thousands of people have protested Sterling’s death, and Baton Rouge police arrested more than 200 demonstrators.

Sterling’s nephew condemned the killing of the three Baton Rouge officers. Terrance Carter spoke Sunday to The Associated Press by telephone, saying the family just wants peace.

“My uncle wouldn’t want this,” Carter said. “He wasn’t this type of man.

A few yards from a police roadblock on Airline Highway, Keimani Gardner was in the parking lot of a warehouse store that would ordinarily be bustling on a Sunday afternoon. He and his girlfriend both work there. But the store was closed because of the shooting.

“It’s crazy. … I understand some people feel like enough is enough with, you know, the black community being shot,” said Gardner, an African-American. “But honestly, you can’t solve violence with violence.”

Michelle Rogers and her husband drove near the shooting scene, but were blocked at an intersection closed by police.

“I can’t explain what brought us here,” she said. “We just said a prayer in the car for the families.”

UPDATE 11:41 a.m.:  Three officers are confirmed dead and three others wounded after a shooting in Baton Rouge, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Sunday. One suspect is dead and law enforcement officials believe two others are still at large, the spokeswoman said.

Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement that the public should call 9-1-1 immediately if they see anything suspicious.

The shooting — which happened just before 9 a.m., less than 1 mile from police headquarters — comes amid spiraling tensions across the city — and the country — between the black community and police. The races of the suspect or suspects and the officers were not immediately known.

Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola told The Associated Press earlier that the officers were rushed to a local hospital. Coppola said authorities are asking people to stay away from the area.

Multiple police units were stationed at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where stricken officers were believed to be undergoing treatment at a trauma center. A police officer with a long gun was blocking the parking lot at the emergency room.

Officers and deputies from the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office were involved, according to Hicks.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw police vehicles with lights flashing massed about a half mile from the police headquarters on Airline Highway. Police armed with long guns on the road stopped at least two vehicles driving away from the scene and checked their trunks and vehicles before allowing them to drive away.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white officers earlier this month after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. Then on Thursday, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Over the weekend, thousands of people took to the streets in Baton Rouge to condemn Sterling’s death, including hundreds of demonstrators who congregated outside the police station. Authorities arrested about 200 people over the three-day weekend.

Michelle Rogers, 56, said the pastor at her church had led prayers Sunday for Sterling’s family and police officers, asking members of the congregation to stand up if they knew an officer.

Rogers said an officer in the congregation hastily left the church near the end of the service, and a pastor announced that “something had happened.”

“But he didn’t say what. Then we started getting texts about officers down,” she said.

Rogers and her husband drove near the scene, but were blocked at an intersection closed down by police.

“I can’t explain what brought us here,” she said. “We just said a prayer in the car for the families.”

Below is the full statement from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office:

“Three law enforcement are confirmed dead, three others injured. One suspect is dead, law enforcement believes two others may be at large. Asking the public if they see anything suspicious please call 911 immediately.

At approximately 9:00 this morning Baton Rouge Police officers and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputies were involved in a shooting incident on Airline Highway near Old Hammond Highway. Multiple officers from both agencies sustained injuries and were transported to local hospitals.
Please be advised Airline Highway both lanes is currently shut down from Goodwood to Old Hammond. Old Hammond is closed to Tara Boulevard. At this point in time the scene is still active. We are advising the public to please take an alternate route and steer clear of the area. Those in the area are asked to remain indoors and contact law enforcement immediately if they see anything suspicious.”

 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement Sunday morning:

PREVIOUSLY: Several officers have been shot in Baton Rouge Sunday morning while on duty less than a mile from police headquarters, police said.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning just before 9 a.m. CT, less than 1 mile from police headquarters.

Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Coppola, speaking on local television station WAFB, did not know the extent of the injuries or give the precise number of officers injured. He said they were rushed to a local hospital. Coppola said authorities are asking people to stay away from the area.

The logo of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
The logo of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

He said that authorities believe the “scene is contained,” meaning that a shooter was unlikely on the loose.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw police vehicles with lights flashing massed about a half mile from the police headquarters on Airline Highway. Police armed with long guns on the road stopped at least two vehicles driving away from the scene and checked their trunks and vehicles before allowing them to drive away.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since the killing of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white officers earlier this month after a scuffle at a convenience store. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook. Then on Thursday, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers and heightening tensions even further.

Over the weekend, thousands of people took to the streets in Baton Rouge to condemn Sterling’s death, including hundreds of demonstrators who congregated outside the police station. Authorities arrested about 200 people over the three-day weekend.

This story will be updated as new details become available.

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