Gunman Identified in Shooting that Killed Three Baton Rouge Officers

iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- Three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were killed on Sunday and three others were wounded in an apparent attack by a former U.S. Marine.

Baton Rouge Police officers Montrell Jackson, 32, and Matthew Gerald, 41, lost their lives, alongside Brad Garafola, 45, of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department.

Additionally, one officer remained in critical condition and another is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries. The condition of the others is not clear.

The gunman was identified as Gavin Long, 29, who officials said died at the scene. Long had driven to Louisiana from his home in Kansas City, Missouri, and opened fire on the officers as they responded to a 911 call, officials said.

Records show that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a “Data Network Specialist” for five years, had deployed to Iraq in 2008, and had received a handful of medals for his service. Officials are now probing what links he may have had to an anti-government group that he had shown support for in the past, a source familiar with the investigation said.

The Sunday morning attack came in the wake of the death of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed during an altercation with Baton Rouge police officers on July 5.

Protesters took to the streets nationwide after video surfaced of Sterling's fatal encounter with police, which was followed a day later by a video of the police shooting death of a black man in Minnesota. Sunday's attack also comes as the country reels from the killing of five officers on July 7 in Dallas by a gunman who said he was angry at police.

Violent speech has surfaced online in the controversy surrounding the recent shootings. In a warning, the FBI cited calls on social media to "purge" cops in Baton Rouge.

A notice put out 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.

The FBI said the information was not officially confirmed but was issued to alert law enforcement to be aware.

The Louisiana State Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting.

The FBI New Orleans office said it "has personnel on scene in Baton Rouge to assist our law enforcement colleagues," adding, "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."

Last week, Sterling's 15-year-old son, Cameron, urged Baton Rouge residents to "protest in peace."

The Baton Rouge officers who died on Sunday were responding to a 911 call around 8:45 a.m. about a man in all black walking around with a rifle in the Old Hammond area -- less than a mile from police headquarters -- officials said.

"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.

President Obama told reporters, "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," he said.

The president also 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," Obama 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."

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