Shooter posted a YouTube video: “You gotta fight back.”
A Missouri man shot and killed three Baton Rouge law officers Sunday, at a moment when the nation is still reeling from the Dallas sniper ambush that claimed the lives of five officers.
A man that police are identifying as Gavin Long of Kansas City, a former Marine, went on a shooting rampage before being killed by police. Long’s attack came on his 29th birthday, and followed a week of anonymous threats received by Baton Rouge law enforcement, according to Louisiana State Police.
The attack came after a man was reported walking down Airline Highway in Baton Rouge carrying a rifle. When authorities arrived, the man opened fire without a word.
Long’s internet presence showed some indication of his mindset in advance of Sunday’s attack, including a YouTube video where he said protests weren’t accomplishing anything and — like in Dallas — “You gotta fight back.” Under his social media pseudonym Cosmo Setepenra, he also tweeted a news story about Dallas shooter Micah Johnson, adding Johnson was "one of us! # MY Religion is Justice."
The FBI is looking into known associates of Long; he allegedly stayed with someone in Baton Rouge before the shooting. Authorities believe he may have been assisted in other ways as well.
Though Long’s anti-police sentiments seem clear, his overall intent remains in question. At a time when racial tensions in the U.S. are at an all-time high, some fear that attack by an African-American man on law enforcement personnel will only serve to escalate this divide.
President Obama, only a week after speaking at the funeral for the Dallas police officers, appeared weary at a news conference Sunday. "We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement," Obama said, speaking from the White House press briefing room. "Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible."