Tue, Jul 19, 2016 - Page 7 News List

US ex-marine shoots, kills three police

‘REVENUE AND BLOOD’:The suspected gunman said he was fed up with the mistreatment of blacks and that only violence and financial pressure would bring about change

Reuters, BATON ROUGE, Louisiana

Police officers block off Airline Highway near the scene of a fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

A decorated US ex-marine sergeant on Sunday opened fire on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three officers, nearly two weeks after the fatal police shooting of a black man there sparked nationwide protests, one of them shattered by the massacre of five Dallas policemen.

The Baton Rouge suspect, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, was shot dead minutes later in a gunfight with police, who converged on the scene of a confrontation that Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said began as an “ambush-style” attack on officers.

Two Baton Rouge Police Department officers and one sheriff’s deputy were killed, and one sheriff’s deputy was critically wounded. Another police officer and one other deputy suffered less severe wounds and were expected to survive.

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson told a news conference the gunman was believed to have acted alone, contrary to earlier reports that police might have been looking for other shooters.

Sunday’s bloodshed followed days of unrest over the police killings of two black men under questionable circumstances earlier this month — Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile, 32, near St Paul, Minnesota, on July 6.

Police did not name the suspect, but a US government official said the gunman was identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri.

Long, who was black, was reported by other media to be 29 years old.

According to Long’s military record, released by the Pentagon, he served in the marines from August 2005 to August 2010, achieving the rank of sergeant.

Listed as a data network specialist, he was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 until January 2009, earning several medals and commendations.

Authorities declined to offer a possible motive for Sunday’s attack in Louisiana’s capital, a city with a long history of distrust between African-Americans and law enforcement that was further inflamed by Sterling’s death.

Social media postings linked to an individual named Gavin Long and a Kansas City address, which was cordoned off by police on Sunday.

The links also included a YouTube video posted by Long on July 10, in which he said he was fed up with mistreatment of blacks and suggested that only violence and financial pressure would bring about change.

Long said he was speaking from Dallas, where he had gone to join protests.

“It’s only fighting back or money. That’s all they care about,” he said in the video. “Revenue and blood, revenue and blood, revenue and blood.”

In a separate video, he insisted that, should “anything happen” to him, he wanted his viewers to know he was “not affiliated” with any particular movement or group.

“I’m affiliated with the spirit of justice, nothing more, nothing less,” he said. “I thought my own thoughts, I made my own decisions.”

A second government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said investigators had reason to believe an emergency 911 call might have been used to lure Baton Rouge police into harm’s way.

Edmonson said several officers came under fire as police were responding to a report of a man dressed in black standing behind a store holding a rifle shortly before 9am.

In the ensuing pandemonium caught on a recording of emergency radio traffic, police are repeatedly heard reporting: “Officer down” and “deputy down” as officers swarmed the area searching for, and ultimately confronting, the gunman.

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