3 Police Officers Killed in Baton Rouge; Calls for Peace Continue
“Everyone needs to be together, not apart.” - Cameron Sterling, Alton’s son.
Early Sunday morning, three police officers were killed, and three others wounded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and authorities now believe they were targeted for being officers of the law.
An investigation by the Louisiana State Police confirmed Monday that the suspect, Gavin Long, who was killed during the shooting, lured police into an ambush.
The shooting occurs only a week after five police officers were killed by a sniper at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. This shooting took place just a mile from where Alton Sterling was killed by police on July 5.
Long was a former Marine who had spent time in Iraq and is a resident of Kansas City, Mo. Police say he rented a car and drove down to Baton Rouge.
While police are not confirming the motive behind the death of police officers, Long had posted a nine-minute video on YouTube discussing “fighting back” and success of taking down oppressors through “bloodshed.”
The victims have been identified as Montrell Jackson, 32, Brad Garafola, 45, and Matthew Gerald, 41. Jackson leaves behind his wife and four-month-old daughter. Sadly, he shared his concerns about race and violence on July 8 but remained hopeful.
“This city MUST and WILL get better," Jackson posted on Facebook. "I'm working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you.”
This event, a marker in the tragic back-and-forth of tension between African Americans and police taking form in violence and death, lead many to call for peace across the country.
“There is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None,” said U.S. President Barack Obama in response to this most recent shooting.
Sterling’s family condemns the violent act as well.
"At the end of the day when these people call these families and they tell them that their daddies and their mamas not coming home no more, I know how they feel because I got the same phone call... stop this killing,” Veda Washington-Abusaleh, Sterling’s aunt, says in a heartbreaking video.
Sterling’s 15-year-old son, Cameron gave a statement just after five police officers were killed in Dallas asking for peace.
“I feel that people in general, no matter what their race is, should come together as one united family,” he said. “Everyone needs to be together, not apart.”