Baton Rouge Rocked By Shooting Deaths Of 3 Police Officers
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Let's learn more now about the man responsible for yesterday's shooting in Baton Rouge. He opened fire Sunday morning. He killed three officers who responded to a call of a suspicious person.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Police then killed the gunman. He is identified as Gavin Eugene Long. He was 29 years old. He's described as a former Marine.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Frank Morris is in Baton Rouge. He's been learning about him. Good morning.
FRANK MORRIS, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: What do you know as of this morning?
MORRIS: Well, he's an African-American man. He's from the Kansas City area, graduated from high school in a suburb of Kansas City in 2005 and right away enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2005 and served in Iraq in 2008 and 2009. And he was discharged honorably. And he went to the University of Alabama for one semester, and then he claims on social media that he went on this kind of long mission of self-discovery. He traveled, went to Africa. He was married and divorced in Kansas City. And then, just last year, he declared himself a sovereign citizen, that is above the laws of the United States.
MONTAGNE: And, Frank, police surrounded his home in Kansas City last night. What happened there?
MORRIS: Well, they - FBI agents searched both a house and an apartment in Kansas City for hours last night. They cornered off the area and wouldn't let anyone out. It wasn't violent, though. And we do not know what those FBI agents found. There was no press conference last night, hoping to learn more about that today.
MONTAGNE: What did the police say they know about his motive at this point in time?
MORRIS: Police aren't really talking explicitly about his motive. But he self-published at least one book recently. And there a whole bunch of social media pages registered in the name of Gavin Long, where there are videos under a brand, if you will, Convos with Cosmo. And these show a man dispensing, you know, one minute pretty standard self-help-type advice and the next promoting violence against the government.
And he's clearly outraged by the police shootings of black men, like Alton Sterling, was killed here in Baton Rouge on July 5. And he says in one of these videos that protests don't work, that all oppressors care about is revenue and blood and that nothing else will get their attention.
MONTAGNE: There were three police officers killed in this attack. And one of those officers was Montrell Jackson. NPR's Michel Martin spoke with his brother Kedrick Pitts yesterday.
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KENDRICK PITTS: He didn't want any hatred going on and especially killing, you know. He was a police officer. He wanted peace.
MONTAGNE: Frank, what do you - what can you tell us about Officer Montrell Jackson?
MORRIS: Montrell Jackson was also African-American. He had been on the force for 10 years as of last month, reportedly a really nice guy. He was injured trying to rescue a toddler from a fire several years ago. And just this March he had a baby son.
MONTAGNE: That's so sad. Well, thank you very much. We'll be hearing more about this later in the day. NPR's Frank Morris in Baton Rouge, thanks.
MORRIS: Thanks a lot, Renee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.