(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Montrell Jackson, one of the law enforcement officers killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the kind of person who would pull over to help strangers change flat tires.
“He went out of his way to try to help all people,” his uncle, Charles Cavalier, told ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston. “He went that extra mile,”
Jackson, a 32-year-old husband and father, was among the three officers killed by gunman Gavin Long in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday morning. Three other officers were wounded.
Jackson “loved his community, and he loved being a police officer,” Cavalier said. Jackson served on the force 10 years.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said at a press conference Monday that he was Jackson’s instructor at the police academy.
“For 20 weeks I tested Montrell physically, mentally and emotionally, every single day,” Dabadie said. “Montrell stood tall every day and never wavered. Never quit. His heart was in service to this community.”
Dabadie said that a couple of days before the shooting, he was talking to the department’s officers, “trying to lift their spirits. Montrell ended up giving me a pep talk.”
The chief said, “That was the last time I spoke to Montrell, and I’ll never forget it.”
Montrell Jackson and his wife, Trenisha Jackson, were together 10 years, and their son turned 4 months old Monday, Dabadie said.
“Montrell was my everything,” Trenisha Jackson said in a message that Dabadie read aloud. “He was an amazing husband, an outstanding father, respectful son and a loving brother and an amazing uncle.”
He loved his fellow officers, his job and his city, she said.
“Knowing this is what gives me a little peace and comfort,” she said. “I know he made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the ultimate price in doing what he loved — protecting and serving a city that he loved.”
Montrell Jackson wrote on Facebook July 8 — after the fatal police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge on July 5 and the murder of five police officers in Dallas on July 7 — that he had “experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core.”
“I swear to God I love this city, but I wonder if this city loves me,” he wrote. “Please don’t let hate infect your heart.”
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch echoed Jackson’s thoughts Monday. “We are devastated by [Jackson’s] passing and that of his comrades,” she said. “But if we are truly to honor his service and mourn his loss — and the loss of his friends and colleagues and of too many others who have been taken from us — we must not let hatred infect our hearts. We must remember that no matter who we are, we all feel the same pain when we lose a friend or loved one. We all share the same hopes for our children’s future and the same anxiety for their safety.”
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