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Baton Rouge police shooting updates: Gunman had been in city for several days before attack, police say

At least three police officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning as they were responding to a call about a man with a gun.

The incident is the nation’s fourth high-profile deadly encounter involving police in the last two weeks. The shooting of Alton Sterling on July 5, captured in an agonizing video, triggered a Justice Department civil rights investigation. A day later, a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minn., fatally shot Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, during a traffic stop. On July 7, a gunman who claimed he was seeking revenge for Sterling’s and Castile’s deaths killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.

What we know so far:

  • Three officers were killed, two of them from the Baton Rouge Police Department: Montrell Jackson, a black, 32-year-old father of a 4-month-old son who had worked on the force for a decade, and Matthew Gerald, a white, 41-year-old officer who had been with the department for less than a year. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, was also killed. The father of four had been with the sheriff’s office for 24 years.
  • Three officers were wounded. One remained in critical condition Monday.
  • The gunman, Gavin E. Long, was killed at the scene. Police initially believed there were multiple suspects, but later said the dead shooter is the only gunman.
  • Long, a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Kansas City, Mo. left a vast and angry online trail documenting his interest in black separatism and fury at police shootings of black men.

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Anti-violence sign appears on many lawns in Gavin Long’s former neighborhood

This anti-violence sign is found on many lawns in the Kansas City, Mo., neighborhood where gunman Gavin Long lived.
(Louis Sahagun / Los Angeles Times)

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Baton Rouge gunman’s neighbor: ‘There was nothing unusual about him’

The gunman in the Baton Rouge attack lived in this house in Kansas City, Mo.
The gunman in the Baton Rouge attack lived in this house in Kansas City, Mo.
(Louis Sahagun / Los Angeles Times)

“What is almost dream-like about all this,” said Terrence Horad, who lived next door to Gavin Eugene Long in Kansas City, Mo., “is that you never know what it could be that would push someone you know, like a neighbor, right over the edge.”

“But if bad things keep happening to a certain kind of people — black or white or green — some people just aren’t going to take it anymore. They’ll think, hey, those are our kids getting shot down,” Horad said.

“But we can’t take the violent approach or there’ll be dead bodies laying all over the place. But I can kind of understand.”

Horad, who is black, didn’t know Long was the Baton Rouge gunman until about 4:30 Sunday afternoon, when he was awakened from a nap by the sound “of three SWAT cars rolling through up to the little green house two doors down,” where Long had been living. “They were filled with officers carrying heavy weaponry,” he said.

Horad said that he crossed paths with Long on occasion but did not know him well.

“I’d see him tearing down the street on a mountain bike — he was a very physical guy,” he said. “But I’m telling you, there was nothing unusual about him. Nothing confrontational. He was just an average guy,” he said, shaking his head.

As for the violence Long unleashed, Horad said, “I really don’t get it; unless you are ready to die, you don’t take on the police.”

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The stories of the three officers killed in Baton Rouge

Three wooden crosses are tied to a roadside memorial on Airline Highway, near where the three officers were killed.
Three wooden crosses are tied to a roadside memorial on Airline Highway, near where the three officers were killed.
(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

The three officers shot and killed by a gunman in Baton Rouge, La., early Sunday were remembered with fondness and sorrow, two veterans and a rookie added to the grim roll of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

“These men are husbands, fathers, sons and brothers,” Sheriff Sid Gautreaux of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Just 10 days after five officers were killed in Dallas, the shooting in Baton Rouge marked the fourth high-profile deadly encounter in the nation involving police in the past two weeks. Here’s a look at the officers killed in Louisiana’s capital city.

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The bizarre books by Baton Rouge police shooter Gavin Eugene Long, a.k.a. Cosmo Setepenra

Gavin Eugene Long, the ex-Marine who shot six police officers in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, killing three, had self-published three books under the name Cosmo Setepenra, which he also used in online forums.

The books are a combination of New Age-style jargon, pseudo-science, motivational bromides, health tips and racial theory.

“The Cosmo Way: A W(H)olistic Guide for the Total Transformation of Melanated People, Vol. 1: The Detox” claims to help readers “achieve [their] optimal nutritional, physical, emotional and spiritual goals.” In the book, Long harshly criticizes Western medicine.

“It is obvious that the current Western system of health is ruinous to Blacks, and is affecting us at a much higher rate than any other race (The reasons for this will be shown later),” he writes. “The Western ways of health and nutrition are surely not the answer for melanated people and apparently not for anyone else either.”

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What you need to know about the sovereign-citizen group to which Baton Rouge gunman Gavin Long belonged

A frame grab from a video posted on YouTube on July 10 shows Gavin Eugene Long speaking as his online persona Cosmo Setepenra.
A frame grab from a video posted on YouTube on July 10 shows Gavin Eugene Long speaking as his online persona Cosmo Setepenra.
(YouTube)

The Washitaw Nation, the sovereign-citizenry group that Gavin Long declared himself a member of, was founded decades ago by a black Louisiana woman named Verdiacee Turner, who called herself Empress Verdiacee “Tiari” Washitaw-Turner Goston El-Bey. Its core tenet is that followers are descendants of the “Ancient Ones,” or “black ones,” who occupied the North American continent tens of thousands of years before white Europeans.

Turner, now deceased, developed an entire mythology around the idea that land sold by France to the United States in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase was fraudulently obtained and actually belonged to her. In doing so, she falls into a long line of sovereign citizenry gurus who peddle fantastic realities and myths, said Ryan Lenz, a senior writer at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.

The Washitaw group, which is made up of African Americans, is part of a larger movement of sovereign citizens in America — a phenomenon that has risen with the economic downturn and the influence of the Internet. Generally, they believe they are above all city, state and federal government laws. They dismiss governments as operating illegally, and they do not believe they have to pay taxes or respect law enforcement officials.

In 2010, two Arkansas police officers stopped a white sovereign-citizen extremist and his 16-year-old son during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40. The father jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle, killing both officers. The following year, the FBI declared sovereign citizenry “a growing domestic threat to law enforcement” with extremists comprising a “domestic terrorist movement.”

“Once you go down this perverse rabbit hole of curiosity and accept all of these fantasies as true, then when you’re challenged on them, it becomes like a challenge to your fundamental reality, and then people start to lash out,” Lenz said.

One of the Washitaws’ core beliefs is that governments have put them in chains and that they’re prisoners, he explained.

“In the process of declaring yourself a sovereign citizen, by definition, you are no longer beholden to any government, Lenz said. “That, of course, is not the way modern world is, and the concept of sovereign citizenry is by and large a complete fallacy.”

The document that Gavin Long filed in court in 2015 amounts to pseudo-legal, “meaningless” paperwork, Lenz said.

“According to sovereign citizens, once you do that, it becomes part of the official record and the government has been notified that you are no longer beholden to the laws, rules and regulations of that system,” he said. “There are no consequences of that. The consequences come when you believe that that mattered.”

“When you start to accept the fact that the federal government is a fictitious reality or a construct that has no real power over your freedom or liberty, you start to declare your freedom and liberty,” Lenz said. “When you’re challenged on that, that’s when things get dicey.”

The Washitaw Nation holds an annual conference. It is not clear if Long attended its last event: a three-day event in June of spiritual readings, dancing and feasts in Monroe, La.

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Police: Gunman had been in Baton Rouge for several days

Police believe that Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who killed three police officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, was in the city for several days before he carried out his deadly ambush, Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said during a news conference Monday.

“It was a calculated attack against those who work to
protect the community every single day,” Edmonson said.

“We believe that while this individual was in the city he was looking for locations to specifically target police officers,” he said. Civilians were walking through the area where Long shot police officers, Edmonson said, and he did not shoot at any of them.

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Hillary Clinton condemns killing of police officers, calls for police reforms in speech to NAACP

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton condemned the killing of police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and Dallas as she addressed the NAACP in Cincinnati, and called for reforms to the criminal justice system.

“Killing police officers is a terrible crime,” she said. “Anyone who kills a police officer and anyone who helps must be held accountable.”

“Perhaps the best way to honor our police is to follow the lead of police departments across the country who are striving to do better,” she continued.

“The next president should make a commitment to fight for the reforms we so desperately need: holding police departments like Ferguson’s accountable, requiring accurate data on in-custody deaths like Sandra Bland’s. Creating clear guidelines on the use of force -- especially lethal force. Supporting independent investigations of fatal encounters with the police. So I pledge to you, I will start taking action on day one and every day after that until we get this done.”

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Texas governor wants to add police to hate crimes law

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office proposed a measure on Monday that would classify crimes committed against law enforcement officers “out of bias against the police” as hate crimes.

“At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities,” Abbott said in a statement.

Louisiana legislators passed a similar bill earlier this year.

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Deputy was killed while trying to save wounded officer

Deputy Sheriff Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana.

Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, had been with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for 24 years and was working in Civil Processing-Foreclosures. At the time he was killed, he was trying to save one of the wounded Baton Rouge police officers, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks.

“He was on his way to the officer when he was shot,” Hicks said.

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Baton Rouge mayor: Gunman was ‘methodical’ in planning attack on officers

“This guy was just not a kook out there,” Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said Monday of the gunman in the deadly attack on law enforcement. “If you go back and look at his military background, if you look at how he planned this thing out, some are saying that he was in Baton Rouge several nights even before this happened.

“So we’re finding out somebody that was methodical and planning and really an outright murderer,” Holden said in an interview Monday with CNN. “Somebody who knew the movements of police officers, that knew how to position them so they could be within range of then killing them.”

The mayor said some people were coming forward about suspicious activity they had seen, and investigators had received tips on other people who might have been involved.

“We’re making sure we follow up every lead,” Holden said. “We’re not going to let this rest until everybody and anybody involved in this is brought to justice.”

Holden said he believed Long did not work alone: “I can tell you I’m here to speak gut instinct and the gut instinct tells me that this guy didn’t just come here. This guy probably has somebody here that he was in contact with.”

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Baton Rouge gunman Gavin Eugene Long identified with separatist movement

The gunman who authorities say killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, La., sought to legally change his name from Gavin Eugene Long to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra last year, identifying himself as a member of a largely black separatist sovereign nation.

According to a document filed in May 2015 with the Jackson County, Mo., recorder of deeds, and first reported by the Kansas City Star, Long claimed he was a “vet national of United Washitaw De Dugdahmoundyah Mu’ur Nation.”

Also known as the Washitaw Nation, the Washitaw De Dugdahmoundyah is a Louisiana-based group that claims to be a sovereign Native American nation within the U.S.

In 1999, the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated that the group had about 200 “hard-core” members, and that it was gaining popularity among followers of Moorish Science, an older black nationalist sect that advocates black sovereignty from white America.

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Wounded officer remains in critical condition

One of the officers wounded in the attack on police in Baton Rouge, La., remained in critical condition Monday morning, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said.

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Police confirm Baton Rouge officers were explicitly targeted

Police officers stand near the scene where three officers were killed on July 17 in Baton Rouge, La.
(Sean Gardner / Getty Images)

Louisiana State Police officials confirmed Monday that the gunman who ambushed officers in Baton Rouge was deliberately and explicitly seeking out law enforcement officers.

“We do believe that he was targeting police officers and this incident was an ambush,” said Maj. Doug Cain, spokesman for the agency.

Cain said investigators had interviewed people who had contact with gunman Gavin Long, and would continue Monday to look for people who could provide information about Long’s motivations, intentions and thoughts.

“There’s no doubt in my mind. He was canvassing the area… his prey was those police officers,” Col. Michael D. Edmonson, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, told CNN.

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What we know about Gavin Eugene Long, the Baton Rouge shooter

Gavin Eugene Long, whom officials have identified as the Baton Rouge shooter, had associations with websites and social media accounts run by a user called Cosmo. Above, the profile photo for Cosmo's Twitter account.
(Twitter)

Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who killed three police officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, left a vast and angry online trail documenting his interest in black separatism and fury at police shootings of black men.

Long, whose identity was confirmed by a law enforcement official, was shot to death by police after opening fire on officers on Airline Highway, less than a mile from the city’s police headquarters in Baton Rouge.

One law enforcement official described him as “a black separatist.” He carried out the shooting on his 29th birthday, and was from Kansas City, Mo.

It’s unclear when he came to Baton Rouge.

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Dead gunman believed to be only shooter, state police say

Gavin Long, 29, who was shot and killed after opening fire on officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, is believed to have been the only shooter, according to Louisiana State Police.

Two people from Addis, a town in West Baton Rouge Parish, were detained for questioning but later released, State Police Maj. Doug Cain said. No charges were filed. Their identities weren’t released.

“The investigation is ongoing to determine if any others were involved,” Cain said.

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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says ‘nation is less safe than ever,’ calls for blue lights at White House

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All 3 slain officers are named

From left: Officers Montrell Jackson, 32, and Matthew Gerald, 41, of the Baton Rouge Police Department, and Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
(Baton Rouge Police Department . East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities have identified the three officers shot and killed in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday.

Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, was a father of four who had been with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office for 24 years, a spokeswoman for the office confirmed Sunday night.

Officer Matthew Gerald, 41, had served with the Baton Rouge Police Department for less than a year, according to the department’s Facebook page.

Earlier on Sunday, officials named as a victim Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, who had served with the Baton Rouge Police Department for about a decade.

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Baton Rouge shooter used online alias for rage-filled social media posts

Gunman Gavin Long appeared to leave a vast, anger-laden online trail documenting his interest in black separatism, fury at police shootings of black men, experience in the Marines and advocacy for vegetarianism.

Online, Long went by the nickname “Cosmo.” A domain name, ConvosWithCosmo.club, was registered in April to his name and Kansas City address, as well as an email address he used. The website is unbuilt and shows a generic page with ads, but a similar website, ConvosWithCosmo.com, includes links to podcasts, YouTube videos, various social media accounts and sites selling books written by Long. On another website, a person named “Cosmo Setepenra” who uses an email address associated with Long complains about government surveillance.

Throughout his postings, Long described violence as the solution to what he saw as oppression of black Americans.

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors, from victims fighting their bullies, 100% have been successful through fighting back through bloodshed,” he says in one video.

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Gunman served in U.S. Marine Corps

Baton Rouge gunman Gavin Long served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years and achieved the rank of sergeant, according to military records.

Long entered into service in Kansas City, Mo., in August 2005, was deployed to Iraq in June 2008 and returned in January 2009. Records list his occupational specialty as data network specialist.

Long’s duty assignments included the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot in San Diego; the School of Infantry in Camp Pendleton, Calif; the Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School in Twentynine Palms, Calif; the 3rd Marine Division Headquarters Battalion in Okinawa, Japan; and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

He received several honors, including the Navy Unit Commendation Medal and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

Long left the Marines in August 2010. He was honorably discharged, according to CBS News.

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Witness says support for police and Black Lives Matter isn’t mutually exclusive

Gillian Rose Triche, 31, an Army reservist and nursing student who lives near the B-Quik gas station, was studying when she heard gunshots Sunday morning.

She heard one shot, then more “cracking and echoing.” It sounded like an automatic rifle, said Triche, who served in the Army for 12 years.

She drove toward the gunfire “to see if there was anything as a soldier I could do.”

Triche got to the B-Quik and saw police surrounding it, including a tactical unit in front.

Triche started live streaming and tweeting from the scene. After three hours, she took cover in a nearby Albertsons, which was then placed on lockdown by police. She was later released with employees of the store.

“I support my police officers and Black Lives Matter, and those two are not mutually exclusive,” she said.

“Sadly, I am not ever surprised when I see a fellow service member has taken their life or the life of another,” Triche said after hearing reports that the shooter was a former Marine.

“We are ill-equipped to deal with mental health issues. My heart breaks that it’s one of my brothers in arms.”

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Slain Baton Rouge officer had said on Facebook that recent violence had ‘tested me to the core’

Family and friends identified one of the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Baton Rouge, La., as Montrell Jackson, a 32-year-old police officer who had been on the force for 10 years.

Jackson, whose wife had given birth this year to their 4-month-old son, Mason, was a “great guy, one of the good cops,” said Marcus Brown, a family friend who regularly saw Jackson. Brown said his cousin is Jackson’s widow.

“He would always throw events at his house for us married couples. We would go over and play games together,” Brown said. “Video games, ‘Madden,’ things like that. He loved basketball. We would talk about sports all the time.”

On Sunday, Brown’s wife, Ashley, was consoling the mother who had lost her husband that morning. “I remember when his wife had his son, he was crying, he was so happy,” Brown said.

Kristi Godal, a friend and Jackson’s next-door neighbor, said Jackson was the president of their neighborhood association and popular with residents.

“He had the best yard. His house always stood out,” Godal said. “People are just flowing by the house, bringing food and in tears.”

Since the shooting of Alton Sterling, 37, on July 5 by Baton Rouge officers and ensuing protests, Godal had regularly chatted with Jackson in person and on Facebook about tension in the city over police shootings. Their conversations grew after Jackson put up a Facebook post July 8, lamenting the turn of events in the city.

“I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends and officers ... 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 needed and much appreciated,” Jackson wrote.

“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 these last 3 days have tested me to the core… These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” he continued.

The other day, Godal sent Jackson a message on Facebook encouraging him to stay positive.

“You set the tone, I’m proud to know you… You will be one of the legends, stay the course. God bless you,” she said.

“Thank you! Lol!” Jackson wrote back.

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Protester in Baton Rouge: ‘We felt like we were having conversations with officers’

Maggie Clarke, 31, lives near the scene of the shooting and was out in the streets last night protesting in support of Alton Sterling.

Although protests last week were “met with a lot of force,” she said last night was a marked improvement.

“Last night it was beautiful. We were out here having conversations” with police, she said.

“I woke up to helicopters. It’s a shame. It feels like it undoes progress. We felt like we were having conversations with officers; that’s how you make progress,” she said.
Police were still talking to her and a dozen people unable to return to their homes in the crime scene, now camped out in a nearby convenience store parking lot, but the officers are tense.

“You can’t blame them,” Clarke said. “They’ve got to be protective of themselves.”

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Slain Baton Rouge officer identified as Montrell Jackson

A Louisiana state representative has identified one of the three officers killed Sunday morning in Baton Rouge and said he had a 4-month-old child.

State Rep. Ted James gave the name of the officer as Montrell Jackson.

James said he knows Jackson and his family personally and spoke to the family Sunday.

In addition to those killed, three officers were wounded.

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Baton Rouge police chief: ‘We will get through this’

Several federal agencies are assisting with the investigation into the fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, La., including the FBI and ATF.

“This is not so much about gun control as it is about what’s in men’s hearts,” East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said at the briefing.

“If we don’t come together and end this madness, surely we will perish as a people,” he said.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. choked up as he discussed the shooting, in which three officers died and three were injured.

“This is not going to tarnish this city or this department,” Dabadie said. “We will get through this.”

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Kip Holden, a black Democrat, urged the community to support law enforcement.

“We are one family, all seeking justice for all of our people,” he said.

During the briefing, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards emphasized that the investigation is ongoing, as is the struggle of law enforcement.

“One of them right now is fighting for his life,” Edwards said.

Earlier in the day, he met with the families of the officers who were shot.

“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” he said.

“The people who carried out this attack do not represent the people of Baton Rouge.”

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Timeline of police shootings in Baton Rouge, La.

In a briefing Sunday afternoon and in follow-up interviews, Major M. Doug Cain of Louisiana State Police and Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson gave a timeline of events leading up to the shooting.

  • The suspect was initially spotted by police at a convenience store after officials reported seeing him behind a beauty supply store at 8:40 a.m. near where the shooting later would occur, armed with a rifle and wearing all black, Cain said.
  • Two minutes later, police received a report of shots fired.
  • Two minutes after that came another report: Officers down. A minute later, a report of more shots fired.
  • By 8:46 a.m., the suspect was seen standing by a carwash next to a beauty supply store, Edmonson said, and minutes later, police responded and found him.

“Officers engaged the subject at that particular time, and he ultimately died at the scene,” Edmonson said.
Police scanners showed police responding to a report of a man armed with an assault rifle near the B-Quik store on Airline Highway across the street from Hammond Aire Plaza.

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More details about slain Baton Rouge officers

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie gets an emotional hug after a press conference on July 17.
(DAN ANDERSON / EPA)

In a briefing Sunday afternoon, authorities gave more details about the officers who were shot and presented a timeline of events.

Two Baton Rouge, La., police officers were killed: a 41-year-old with less than a year on the force and a 10-year veteran who was 32. A 45-year-old East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s deputy also was killed.

Of the three injured, a 41-year-old sheriff’s deputy remained in critical condition, while a 51-year-old deputy and a 41-year-old police officer suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening and were in stable condition, authorities said.

Officials did not identify the officers.

East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said the deputies were all married with children.

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One officer in ‘extremely critical condition’

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden told The Times on Sunday afternoon that one officer is in “extremely critical condition,” and another has been treated and released.

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Baton Rouge gunman identified, described as ‘black separatist’

The gunman who shot and killed officers in Baton Rouge was named Gavin Eugene Long, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Long was a 29-year-old from Kansas City, Mo. Today was his birthday.

A second official described Long as a “black separatist.”

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East Baton Rouge sheriff: If this madness continues, ‘we will surely perish as a people’

Until we come together as a nation, as a people — to heal, as a people — if we don’t do that and this madness continues, we will surely perish as a people.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux

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Protesters leave store where Alton Sterling was killed

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Police: No active shooter situation in Baton Rouge

There is no active shooter situation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said at a news conference on Sunday.

Police believe that the suspect who was killed by law enforcement was the only shooter, he said.

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Cleveland police union leader calls for suspending open-carry gun law during GOP convention

Retired Marine Steve Thacker, center, is interviewed by journalists in downtown Cleveland.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The head of Cleveland’s police union said Sunday he would ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich to place a weeklong stay on open-carry rights as the Republican National Convention rolls through the city after several police officers were gunned down Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.

“It’s a heartbreaking day,” said union President Steven Loomis, who said the union’s attorneys also are asking Kasich to declare a state of emergency in the city during the convention.

Loomis repeatedly said he was not “against the 2nd Amendment,” but argued that the recent attacks on police in Dallas and Louisiana as well as the likely volatile situations that will play out if groups with competing ideologies clash outside the RNC will create situations that are too dangerous for city police.

Simply put, Loomis said, officers will have to take extra precautions around anyone and everyone who chooses to carry a rifle, which might distract them from necessary enforcement actions.

Kasich should be able to enact an executive order, according to Loomis, because firearms are already banned inside the “hard security zone” along the immediate perimeter of the convention site.

The union had not yet sent its letter to Kasich as of 3 p.m.. Calls to a spokesman for Kasich were not immediately returned.

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Donald Trump on Baton Rouge shooting: ‘We demand law and order’

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Obama: ‘These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one.’

(AP Photo/Max Becherer)

President Barack Obama released the following statement in response to the shooting in Baton Rouge:

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Alton Sterling’s aunt on shooting of police in Baton Rouge: ‘I can only imagine things will now get 100 times worse’

Veda Washington, Alton Sterling’s aunt, said she heard of the shooting of officers in Baton Rouge, La., via TV news. Her first response: “This is crazy.”

“I can only imagine things will now get 100 times worse,” said Washington.

“We want to offer our condolences to the officers’ families because we know first-hand what they are going through. We just went through this,” she said. “We also want it to be known that this is not in retaliation due to Alton’s death. There was no protesting going on there on where this took place.”

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Black law enforcement organization leader: Country needs ‘deep conversation’ about revenge killings of police

At a hastily arranged news conference Sunday, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas called for peace between police and communities across the country. He said the country needed to have a “deep conversation” about revenge against police for killings of black Americans.

While the motive of Sunday’s shooting in Baton Rouge, La., is unclear, Micah Johnson, the shooter in Dallas, had told police that his motives included revenge for black men killed by police.

“We cannot let this be the order of the day. We don’t need to have a copycat scenario, be it in Baton Rouge or anywhere across the country,” Thomas said, speaking in Washington, D.C., where the organization was holding its annual conference.

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave the world blind and toothless,” said Thomas, paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had joined Thomas, said: “This has no kinship to our civil rights movement. This is not about black and white; it’s about wrong and right,” he added.

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Dispatch audio describes Baton Rouge shooting suspect

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Update on the condition of Baton Rouge officers

Five law enforcement officers were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center after the shootings. Three died, one is in critical condition and the other is expected to survive, according to hospital spokeswoman Kelly Zimmerman.

A sixth law enforcement officer was transported to Baton Rouge General with non-life threatening injuries, according to Rebekah Maricelli, spokeswoman for the hospital.

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President Obama has been briefed about the shootings in Baton Rouge

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House on July 15, 2016.
(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)

The White House says President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and has asked to be updated throughout the day as more details become available.

The White House has been in contact with local officials in Baton Rouge and offered any assistance necessary.

Obama spent most of last week focused on trying to reduce tensions and helping build trust between police and the communities they serve.

He attended a memorial service for five Dallas police officers last week and also led a nearly four-hour meeting featuring dozens of leaders from police organizations, community activists and elected officials.

He also spoke by telephone to the families of two black men shot in separate incidents in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

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More footage from the scene of the Baton Rouge police shootings

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Alton Sterling’s cousin prays for peaceful protesting after deaths of Baton Rouge, La., officers

Life had just begun to slowly return to normalcy for Tanya Sterling, the cousin of Alton Sterling, after his funeral on Friday at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.

Then, on Sunday, she heard the news from her mother of the police shooting. More officers shot dead, this time, not far from her home.

She was shocked, angry and saddened.

“It seems like after Alton’s death, so much has been going on dealing with police and killing other police officers. So much chaos. So much is happening,” said Sterling, 25.

“I hate that it was my cousin who passed. I hate that it was him who died and for all this to have happened. I wish that none of this happened.”

Alton Sterling was selling CDs in front of a convenience store in Baton Rouge on July 5 when police responded to reports of an armed man threatening people. During the confrontation, police fatally shot the 37-year-old father of five.

At her cousin’s funeral, one of the prayers Tanya Sterling had offered was “for peace in protesting,” she said.

It was unclear who the latest shooting’s suspects were or whether they were involved in any of the sometimes heated protests in the city.

Still, Sterling said, she was again making prayers on Sunday morning. “Peaceful protesting, please,” she said. “Peaceful protesting.”

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