Gavin Eugene Long, a former Sergeant and a veteran of the Iraq war, selectively shot dead three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The ex Marine was observed to carefully avoid killing any civilians he encountered while shooting at law enforcement personnel. Long supposedly has ties with a particular African-American group which is known to harbor antipathy towards the US Government.
The attack lasted only for a few minutes. Long acted alone and used his military training. He ran from one building to another, and turned a bustling Baton Rouge commercial street into a battleground of about 400 yeards. The list of end casualties saw Long killing three police officers and wounding a number of others prior to his geeting shot dead by a police sniper. The marksman shot from about a 100 yards away. The police continues to investigate the incident.
This ambush happened only a few days after another ex US serviceman holding black nationalist views shot dead five police officers in Dallas. It was a sniper attack tainting the peaceful protest that denounced fatal police shootings. The police shot dead two black men a few days back. One of the black men was shot in Baton Rouge.
According to Colonel Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent, Louisiana State Police, the gunman was described by observers to move tactically from one place to another, searching for targets and selecting vantage points. Col. Edmonson said that the shooter showed a chilling brutality in his actions.
Heroism and affiliation
The videos show Long trying twice to approach the law enforcement personnel, but failing to do so. The officer was seen exiting the scene, apparently unware of the danger he could face. The video also captured many moments of heroism, like a sheriff's deputy trying vainly to save a fallen officer and then getting killed himself.
There was no statement from the police on the question of race playing a role in this particular rampage. However, Long, himself an African-American, said in multiple social media messages posted a few days before the shooting that he was angry at the mistreatment which African-Americans face from law enforcement. He had also praised attacks made against Dallas police.
If one goes by the legal papers that are filed in Missouri, Long's home state, they show that he was linked with the Washitaw Nation. This group is an African-American offshoot of Sovereign Citizen Movement, a group which challenges legitimacy of the federal government.