’16 killer of of­fi­cers left note

Ba­ton Rouge am­busher sought jus­tice against ‘bad cops’ Armed with a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle that he legally pur­chased, Long fa­tally shot three of­fi­cers and wounded three oth­ers on July 17 be­fore tac­ti­cal of­fi­cers killed him, end­ing a gun­bat­tle that lasted n

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

BA­TON ROUGE — The mil­i­tary vet­eran who killed three law en­force­ment of­fi­cers in Ba­ton Rouge last sum­mer left be­hind a sui­cide note, a prayer from an Is­lamic holy book and an on­line trail of his rage against po­lice.

Two days after a white po­lice of­fi­cer shot and killed a black man in Louisiana’s cap­i­tal, Gavin Long searched the In­ter­net for ad­dresses, phone num­bers and other per­sonal in­for­ma­tion be­long­ing to the two of­fi­cers in­volved in the July 5 shoot­ing of Al­ton Ster­ling, a pros­e­cu­tor’s re­port re­vealed Fri­day.

Less than two weeks later, the 29-year-old black man from Kansas City, Mo., trav­eled to Ba­ton Rouge and am­bushed law en­force­ment of­fi­cers out­side a con­ve­nience store and car­wash near po­lice head­quar­ters. Armed with a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle that he legally pur­chased, Long fa­tally shot three of­fi­cers and wounded three oth­ers on July 17 be­fore tac­ti­cal of­fi­cers killed him, end­ing a gun­bat­tle that lasted nearly 14 min­utes that Sun­day morn­ing.

East Ba­ton Rouge Par­ish Dis­trict At­tor­ney Hil­lar Moore III said there’s no ev­i­dence that Long acted on any in­for­ma­tion he ob­tained about the two of­fi­cers who strug­gled with Ster­ling be­fore one of them shot and killed the 37-year-old black man out­side a con­ve­nience store. Moore also said there’s no in­di­ca­tion that Long had any sup­port from any­one in Ba­ton Rouge or at­tended any of the nightly protests there after Ster­ling’s death.

“He be­lieves that protests are worth­less and that ac­tion needs to be taken, not protests,” Moore said.

Po­lice found a sui­cide note in Long’s ren­tal car. He wrote that peo­ple who knew him would be sur­prised he was “sus­pected of com­mit­ting such hor­ren­dous acts of vi­o­lence” but that he be­lieved he had to in­flict harm “upon bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops [which are the ma­jor­ity] will be able to stand to­gether and en­act jus­tice and pun­ish­ment against bad cops.”

He also left a print­out in his car from an Is­lamic holy book that was mostly in Ara­bic.

“It ref­er­ences ask­ing for­give­ness from Al­lah and in­cludes a prayer pas­sage wherein it states that re­peat­ing the prayer and dy­ing on the same day guar­an­tees the per­son will go to par­adise,” the re­port said.

FBI agents and Louisiana State Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors traced Long’s move­ments in the days lead­ing up to the at­tack. They learned he ar­rived in Ba­ton Rouge on July 12 and checked in and out of four dif­fer­ent ho­tel rooms dur­ing his brief visit.

“We be­lieve that he was ready to die this day,” Moore said.

Long had posted ram­bling In­ter­net videos call­ing for vi­o­lence in re­sponse to po­lice treat­ment of blacks, which he said con­sti­tuted “op­pres­sion.” He ap­par­ently posted a YouTube video from Dal­las on July 10, three days after a sniper killed five of­fi­cers and wounded nine oth­ers there.

“In the video, Long states that ‘100 per­cent of rev­o­lu­tions, of vic­tims fight­ing their op­pres­sors have been suc­cess­ful through fight­ing back, through blood­shed,’” the re­port said.

Moore’s re­port said Long had metham­phetamines and al­co­hol in his sys­tem when he was killed. An au­topsy found 45 gun­shot wounds on his body, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­cluded at least 106 shots were fired that morn­ing, mostly by the tac­ti­cal of­fi­cers.

Moore said the of­fi­cers who traded gun­fire with Long acted hero­ically and were legally jus­ti­fied in killing the gun­man. Long was wounded and reach­ing for his ri­fle when tac­ti­cal of­fi­cers fired the bar­rage of fa­tal shots, Moore said.

“There was no doubt here re­gard­ing their jus­ti­fi­ca­tion,” said Moore, who nar­rated a video that de­picts the shoot­ing in de­tail.

Long killed Ba­ton Rouge of­fi­cers Mon­trell Jack­son, 32, and Matthew Ger­ald, 41, and East Ba­ton Rouge Par­ish Sher­iff’s Deputy Brad Garafola, 45.

Long wore black cloth­ing and a ski mask and was armed with two ri­fles and a pis­tol when he parked his ren­tal car near a beauty sup­ply store and ap­proached a po­lice ve­hi­cle at the con­ve­nience store next door. He ap­peared to raise his ri­fle, per­haps ready to fire, but no one was in­side the pa­trol car.

Long by­passed civil­ians as he walked around in the area be­fore he opened fire on po­lice.

Long served in the Marines from 2005 to 2010, in­clud­ing a seven-month stint in 2008 in Iraq. He was a data net­work spe­cial­ist who reached the rank of sergeant be­fore an hon­or­able dis­charge. Long never saw com­bat in Iraq, but he told doc­tors he suf­fered from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der be­cause a friend showed him videos of maimed and de­cap­i­tated bod­ies, med­i­cal records showed.

Mil­i­tary doc­tors di­ag­nosed Long in Novem­ber 2011 as suf­fer­ing from an “ad­just­ment dis­or­der with de­pressed mood,” but not PTSD.

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