(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers were killed Sunday and three others wounded when a former Marine who had driven to Louisiana from his home in Kansas City, Missouri, opened fire on them as they responded to a 911 call about a man in all black walking around with a rifle, officials said.
The gunman, later identified as Gavin Long, 29, died at the scene, officials said, and Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Sunday afternoon there was no longer an active shooter scenario but the investigation was ongoing.
“We believe the person that shot and killed our officers, that he is a person that was shot and killed at the scene,” Edmonson said. He said police do not believe there are “any other shooter[s] held up … in the Baton Rouge area.”
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said earlier Sunday that officials believed two suspects might have been at large.
The shooting happened around 8:45 a.m. in the Old Hammond area — less than a mile from police headquarters, officials said.
Two of the officers who died worked for the Baton Rouge police department and one worked for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office, police said. Of the three who were injured, one was in critical condition and the two others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Military records for Long that were obtained by ABC News say that he served as a “Data Network Specialist” and was in the service from August 22, 2005 until August 21, 2010. He was deployed to Iraq between June 2008 and January 2009.
During his service he received a number of medals including the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the records show. They also show that he was stationed in Japan as well as several locations in California.
One of the Baton Rouge police officers killed in the shooting was 41 years old with just under one year of service, police said. The other was 32 years old with 10 years of service. The third officer killed Sunday, an East Baton Rouge Parish deputy, was 45 years old.
“This is truly a sad day in Baton Rouge,” Mayor Kip Holden said. “We continue to ask the question and continue to make the statement, let peace prevail in Baton Rouge and this parish. We must look ahead.
“We thank our officers who have fallen in the line of duty, we pray for their families and we pray for peace everywhere,” Holden said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement, “This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing.
“Rest assured, every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are brought swiftly to justice,” Edwards said.
The Sunday morning shootings come in the wake of the death of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed after an altercation with Baton Rouge police officers on July 5. Sterling’s death and the police-involved death of a black man in Minnesota a day later sparked nationwide protests. Then on July 7, a gunman targeted police officers at a protest in Dallas, killing five officers and wounding others.
In the wake of Sterling’s death, there were calls to “purge” cops in Baton Rouge.
A warning issued by the FBI’s New Orleans field office on July 7 mentioned “threats to law enforcement and potential threats to the safety of the general public” stemming from Sterling’s shooting.
One image on social media said the Baton Rouge “purge” would start July 9 at midnight and end July 10 at 5 a.m.
The FBI said the information was not officially confirmed but was issued to alert law enforcement to be aware.
Last week, Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son, Cameron Sterling, urged Baton Rouge residents to “protest in peace.”
President Obama told reporters Sunday, “This has happened far too often.”
“I know whenever this happens, wherever this happens, you feel it. Your families feel it. But what I want you to know today is the respect and the gratitude of the American people for everything that you do for us,” he said.
Obama mentioned how he traveled to Dallas five days ago for a memorial service for the five officers killed there.
“I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other, nor will today’s killer,” Obama said. “It remains up to us to make sure that they fail. That decision is all of ours. The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst.”
The Louisiana State Police Department is leading the investigation into Sunday’s shooting.
The FBI New Orleans office said it “has personnel on scene in Baton Rouge to assist our law enforcement colleagues. At this time, our focus is to help identify and bring to justice those who are responsible for this heinous act.”
The Department of Homeland Security said it is “in contact with the FBI, Baton Rouge law enforcement, and our fusion center partners there, and the Secretary has directed that the full weight of the Department’s resources be made available.”
Obama said in a statement earlier Sunday, “I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.”
He said he has offered the support of the federal government to state and local authorities in Louisiana.
“And make no mistake – justice will be done,” he said. “We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas –- they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now -– all of us -– to be at our best.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Recent posts in National News