The three officers killed in Baton Rouge, La.: Who they were
By Erica Evans
Jul 18, 2016 | 12:30 PM
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.
Jackson, 32, was burdened by the weight of of the nation’s unrest and turned to Facebook to share his feelings on what it was like to be a black police officer in a city that had suddenly become a flashpoint in the national conversation on race and justice.
“In uniform I get nasty, hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat,” he wrote shortly after Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge.
But Jackson was hopeful that his community would heal.
“Please don't let hate infect your heart. The city must and will get better."
Jackson had been working at the Baton Rouge Police Department for 10 years and just 10 months prior to his death, he and his wife celebrated the birth of their first child, a son.
According to Jackson’s uncle, Charles Cavalier, Jackson cried when he found out he would be having a son.
“He was so excited, you know. The baby looks just like him,” Cavalier told WAFB.
He also loved traveling, the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, and his job, Cavalier said.
Garafola, 45, had worked at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for 24 years and was selected as the civil deputy of the month in January 2013. On the morning of the fatal ambush, his shift was supposed to end at 8 a.m. He was killed approximately half an hour later, at 8:30 a.m.
He leaves behind a wife and four children — a 21-year-old son, a 15-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.
“He was a great guy,” his wife, Tonja Garafola, told the Advocate. “Not just a great law enforcement officer, but a great husband and great father. He didn’t deserve this. He always helped everybody.”
He also loved tinkering — fixing and building things, such as cars. His latest project was a car that he was working on to give to his 15-year-old daughter when she learned to drive.
Garafola’s brother, Brett Garafola, wrote on Facebook, "Brad, I love you very much my brother. I respect and appreciate everything you did for us, this city, and your job to protect and serve."
A former Marine and Black Hawk crew chief in the Army, Gerald, 41, had graduated from the Baton Rouge Police Academy in March. According to his wife, Dechia Badeaux Gerald, he had been promoted to work on his own less than two weeks before he was killed.
Even after serving three tours in Iraq, Gerald wasn’t ready to give up working on the front line, said his friend and fellow police officer Ryan Cabral.
“Matt was born to protect those who needed protection,” Cabral told CNN.
He enjoyed spending time with his wife and two young daughters, as well as fishing on his bass boat, Cabral said.
Another friend, Nick Lambert, who served with Gerald in the Army, told the Washington Post:
“After three tours, not a scratch on him. Comes back home, chooses a job to serve others, and this is what our society does?” Lambert said. “It’s a coward’s way to make a statement.”