BATON ROUGE, La. — The gunman who shot and killed three officers here, wounding three more, was deliberately attacking law enforcement, officials said Monday.
"We do believe that he was targeting police officers" in the shooting, said Major M. Doug Cain, spokesman for the Louisiana State Police. "This incident was an ambush."
The gunman was identified as Gavin Eugene Long, a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Kansas City, Mo., who a U.S law enforcement official said had a history as a "black separatist."
His service record included duty assignments at Camp Pendleton, San Diego and Twentynine Palms before his discharge from the Marines in 2010. At the time of the shooting, he was armed with an assault rifle and dressed all in black. The gunman left an angry online trail documenting his interest in black separatism and fury at police shootings of black men. Long described violence as the solution to the oppression of black Americans, and railed against the July 5 police shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, which prompted protests and a Justice Department investigation.
"There's no doubt in my mind. He was canvassing the area... his prey was those police officers," Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, told CNN.
Cain said investigators were still looking for witnesses and others who can provide information about the motivation for the Sunday morning attack.
Killed in the shooting were Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, an African American who had worked on the force for a decade; Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, a white 24-year veteran and Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald, 41, a white man who had been with the department for less than a year. Also wounded in the attack were Deputies Nicholas Tullier, 41, and Bruce Simmons, 51, and an unidentified Baton Rouge police officer.
Tullier was in critical condition, while Simmons and the unidentified Baton Rouge police officer have non-life-threatening injuries. "These men are husbands, fathers, sons and brothers," East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said in a statement posted on Facebook on Monday. "We are devastated to lose one of our own, and another is now in a fight for his life. We are asking for your prayers at this time. We will get through this together as a family and as a community."
Garafola had been with the Sheriff's Office for 24 years and was working in Civil Processing-Foreclosures. At the time he was killed, he was trying to save one of the wounded Baton Rouge police officers, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks.
"He was on his way to the officer when he was shot," Hicks said.
During a speech Monday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed the shooting.
"I condemn these heinous attacks in the strongest terms possible," Lynch said during remarks at a conference for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement in Washington. "As the president said yesterday, there is no justification whatsoever for violence against law enforcement."
Lynch read from a Facebook post by Jackson, the black officer who was killed in the shooting, who pleaded for an end to hatred after five police officers were shot and killed earlier this month in Dallas.
"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," Lynch said. "We must remember that no matter who we are, we all feel the same pain when we lose a friend or loved one."
Lynch said the Justice Department, which is still investigating Sterling's shooting, was committed to helping the country bridge racial divides and properly train police "to make officers and residents allies � not adversaries � in the work of public safety."
"We will continue to give local departments the tools they need and the training they require to come home safely," Lynch said.
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