Slain Officer Wrote of Struggles as Black Cop

Baton Rouge shooter was former Marine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2016 2:19 AM CDT
Updated Jul 18, 2016 4:33 AM CDT
Slain Officer Wrote About Struggles as Black Cop
In this 2016 photo provided by Trenisha Jackson, her husband, Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson, holds his son Mason at a Father's Day event for police officers in Baton Rouge, La.    (Courtesy of Trenisha Jackson via AP)

"I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me," wrote Montrell Jackson a few days before he was gunned down along with two other Baton Rouge officers on Sunday morning. The 32-year-old, who joined the force 10 years ago, made emotional posts on Facebook about the city's turmoil after the shooting of Alton Sterling and about the difficulties he faced as a black officer in a divided city, the New York Times reports. "In uniform, I get nasty hateful looks, and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I've experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core," wrote Jackson. "This city MUST and WILL get better," he wrote, promising hugs to "protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever," and urging people not to let hate infect their hearts. Jackson, whose relatives describe him as a "protector," was married and was the father of a 4-month-old son. In other developments:

  • The other two officers killed have been identified as Matthew Gerald, a 41-year-old former Marine and father of two daughters, and Brad Garafola, 45, the Advocate reports. Gerald joined the force earlier this year and started doing solo patrols less than two weeks ago.

  • Kedrick Pitts, Jackson's brother, tells NPR that his brother would have wanted people to "put a end to all this madness." "He just asks everyone to respect everyone, continue to love everyone and he wanted everyone to get through this together. He didn't want any hatred going on, especially killing, you know. He was a police officer. He wanted peace," Pitts says.
  • The shooter, who was killed at the scene, has been identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Mo. The former Marine, using the alias "Cosmo Setepenra" made numerous online posting complaining about how black people were treated by police, the Guardian reports. He described the July 7 killing of five Dallas police officers as "justice," and apparently visited the city a few days after the shooting.
  • The Marines have confirmed that Long, 29, received an honorable discharge in 2011 after five years in which he rose to the rank of sergeant and served in Iraq for a year. In the years after leaving the military, Long apparently traveled extensively in Africa.
  • Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Alton Sterling's sons, condemned the shooting of the Baton Rouge officers, CNN reports. "We reject violence of any kind directed at members of law enforcement or citizens," she said in a statement. "My hope is that one day soon we can come together and find solutions to the very important issues facing our nation rather than continuing to hurt one another."
(More Baton Rouge stories.)

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