12:38 GMT13 August 2020
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    Former US Marine sergeant Gavin Long, a 29-year-old African American, fatally shot three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The attack, described by US President Barack Obama as a "cowardly and reprehensible assault," took place two weeks after a fatal local shooting of an African American caused outrage and sparked protests.

    1) What happened

    Baton Rouge police officers were responding to a 911 call when Long, clad in black, wearing a face mask and armed with a rifle, opened fire at them. The attack took place near Hammond Aire Plaza, a local shopping center, at approximately 9 a.m. CDT on Sunday. Police killed the shooter at the scene.

    ​Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden described what transpired as an "ambush-style" attack.

    ​The shootout lasted approximately eight minutes.

    ​​Initial reports suggested that there were three attackers. Police arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting, but Colonel Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, later told reporters that Long acted alone.

    2) The shooter

    Gavin Eugene Long, a decorated sergeant, served in the US Marine Corps as a data network specialist since August 2005. He was honorably discharged in August 2010. Long, who hailed from Kansas City, Missouri, spent six months in Iraq in 2008-2009, according to records released by the Pentagon.

    Long, an active member of the anti-government New Freedom Group, carried out the attack on his 29th birthday.

    The shooter was active on social media. He posted several videos on YouTube, saying in one of the last ones that "one hundred per cent of revolutions, victims fighting their oppressors, victims fighting their bullies, 100 per cent have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed."

    In a separate video, Long revealed that he used to be a Nation of Islam member, but was not affiliated with any group, including Daesh.

    3) Casualties

    Six officers were shot during the attack. Three officers were killed. Two Baton Rouge Police Department officers were identified as Montrell Jackson, 32, and Matthew Gerald, 41. The gunman also fatally shot Brad Garafola, 45, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy.

    One sheriff's deputy was critically injured.

    4) Reaction

    US President Barack Obama condemned the shooting.

    "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," he noted, adding that it was an attack on public servants, on the rule of law and on civilized society.
    Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards called the shootings an "unspeakable, heinous attack" that served no purpose.

    ​"There simply is no place for more violence. That doesn't help anyone, it doesn't further the conversation, it doesn't address any injustice, perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself," he told reporters.

    Following the latest Baton Rouge shooting, Donald Trump described the US as a country that is "divided and out of control," directing fierce criticism at President Barack Obama. "We grieve for the officers killed in Baton Rouge today. How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order," he said.

    Hillary Clinton said that the attack on police officers in Baton Rouge is an "attack on all of us," adding that there is "no justification for violence, for hate, for attacks on men and women who put their lives on the line every day in service of our families and communities."

    ​5) Wave of anti-police violence

    On July 5, Baton Rouge police officers Blaine Salamoni and Howie shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old African-American, outside of the Triple S Food Mart, a convenience store located some five miles away from Hammond Aire Plaza. A day later, on July 6, police officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot Philando Castile, a 32-year old African-American, near St. Paul, Minnesota.

    These shootings have become the latest in a string of controversial incidents that have seen police officers kill African-Americans, triggering protests across the country.

    On July 7, sniper Micah Johnson killed five police officers and wounded 11 others during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas, Texas.

    Attacks against law enforcement officers are on the rise, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) said last week. In the days following the Dallas shooting there have been at least five instances where police where attacked.


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