US ex-Marine killed three cops 'to celebrate his 29th birthday'

US ex-Marine killed three cops 'to celebrate his 29th birthday'
Published: 2016 July 18 08:39:02 (7110 Views)
A masked former US Marine murdered three Louisiana police officers in an apparent petrol station ambush, less than two weeks after a black man was shot dead in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests that reverberated throughout America.

Three other officers were wounded in the attack in Baton Rouge, one critically. Police said the gunman was killed at the scene.

The shooting, less than a mile from police headquarters, added to the tensions across the country between the black community and police.

Just days earlier, one of the murdered officers posted an emotional Facebook message about the challenges of police work in the current environment.

US president Barack Obama urged people to tamp down inflammatory words and actions. 'We don't need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts … all of us,' he said.

The gunman was identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, who was 29 on Sunday.

Long, who was black, served in the marines from 2005 to 2010, reaching the rank of sergeant. He deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, according to military records.

Although he was believed to be the only person who fired at officers, authorities said they were unsure if he had some kind of help. 'We are not ready to say he acted alone,' state police spokesman Major Doug Cain said.

Two 'persons of interest' were detained for questioning in the nearby town of Addis but were later released without charge.

While in the military, Long was awarded several medals, including one for good conduct, and received an honourable discharge. His occupational expertise was listed as 'data network specialist'.

The University of Alabama said that Long attended classes for one semester in the spring of 2012. A school spokesman said university police had no interaction with him.



It is the fourth high-profile deadly encounter in the United States involving police over the past two weeks. In all, the violence has cost the lives of eight officers, including those in Baton Rouge, and two civilians and sparked a national debate over race and policing.

Two of the murdered officers were from the Baton Rouge Police Department – 32-year-old Montrell Jackson, who had been on the force for a decade, and Matthew Gerald, 41, who had been there for less than a year.

The third victim was Brad Garafola, 45, who had been with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office for 24 years.

Mr Jackson, who was black, posted his message on Facebook on July 8, just three days after the death of 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man killed by white Baton Rouge officers after a scuffle at a convenience store.

In the message, Mr Jackson said he was physically and emotionally tired and complained that while in uniform, he received nasty looks. When out of uniform, he said some people considered him a threat.

Police-community relations in Baton Rouge have been especially tense since Mr Sterling's death. The killing was captured on mobile phone video.

It was followed a day later by the shooting death of another black man in Minnesota, whose girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath of his death on Facebook.

The next day, a black gunman in Dallas, Texas, opened fire on police at a protest about the police shootings, killing five officers.

Thousands of people protested over Mr Sterling's death and Baton Rouge police arrested more than 200 demonstrators.

Mr Sterling's nephew Terrance Carter condemned the killing of the three Baton Rouge officers and said the family just wanted peace.

'My uncle wouldn't want this,' Mr Carter said. 'He wasn't this type of man.'



Source - Metro

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