State Police say ambush shooter's intentions were 'accurate,' aimed at officers

VIDEO: Law Enforcement Briefing - Part 1
Gavin Long (Source: Facebook)
Gavin Long (Source: Facebook)
Officer Montrell Jackson, Deputy Brad Garafola and Officer Matthew Gerald
Officer Montrell Jackson, Deputy Brad Garafola and Officer Matthew Gerald
Airline Hwy at Old Hammond Hwy (Source: WAFB)
Airline Hwy at Old Hammond Hwy (Source: WAFB)

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Investigators say they are looking into the background of shooter Gavin Long to determine whether or not he had help with the ambush shooting that resulted in the death of three law enforcement officers.

"We are committing all resources to identify co-conspirators or facilitators," said Jeff Sallet, FBI.

During a Monday press conference, officials released details about the crime scene investigation, including pictures that show how the events transpired. They also revealed that much of the attack was captured on camera.

"It's chilling in its sheer brutality," Col. Edmonson said. "These officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated."

Investigators believe Gavin Long, 29, of Kansas City, Missouri was in Baton Rouge for several days before carrying out the attack Sunday morning. his fingerprints positively identified him as the shooter.

"We're confident this was the only shooter at the scene," Col. Edmonson reassured. "His intentions were accurate and they were all aimed at law enforcement officers."

Investigators recovered three guns that are being analyzed to determine ownership history. They include an IWI Tavor SAR, 5.56 caliber rifle, Springfield XD 9, 9mm caliber pistol, and Stag Arms M4 Variant, 5.56 caliber rifle was staged at the vehicle.

The vehicle is a Chevy Malibu that was rented from Missouri. It was recovered at the scene.

It is unknown, however, whether Long has any associates. The FBI is assisting in with that part of the investigation.

"One of the more challenging avenues of the investigation is social media footprint. Someone was posting for him as he was still alive," Col. Edmonson noted.

Investigators are speaking with anyone who may have talked to Long recently and tracking down any known associates.

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Long was a former Marine and served as a Data Network Specialist. He achieved the rank of Sergeant and served from August 22, 2005 to August 21, 2010. He was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009.

"Our hearts are broken but our spirits are intact," said Col. Edmonson. "Our souls have survived and unspeakable crime in this community."

Investigators moved methodically through the crime scene Sunday, gathering evidence and talking to the people who witnessed the horror unfold. As that happened, many families living in the neighborhoods near the shooting scene spent most of Sunday effectively on lock down.

Witnesses who lived near the scene said they heard the gunfire and watched things unfold out their windows. One man who drove up on the gunfire said officers tried to keep drivers out of harm's way.

"An officer ran up to me told me to, 'Stop, don't move,'" Johnny O'Bryant said. "They're trying to get us, the people in the vehicles, out of the line of fire. He said, 'Three of my comrades have been shot down' and he needed me to follow directions to get me out of the line of fire."

Others in nearby neighborhoods said they ran inside and took cover when they heard gunfire. Airline Highway at Old Hammond Highway was reopened to traffic around 8 p.m. Sunday.

Officers Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32, with the Baton Rouge Police Department and Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office were killed in the shootout. Deputy Nicholas Tullier, 41, remains in critical condition.

Officer Bruce Simmons, 57, and another officer were also taken to the hospital where they were listed in fair condition. The unnamed officer has since been released from the hospital.

The initial call was made at roughly 8:40 a.m. Sunday morning, as someone reported seeing a man holding a rifle, wearing all black, who was standing behind a beauty supply store on Airline Highway. The scene later shifted to the nearby B-Quik gas station, which is located less than a mile from BRPD Headquarters. During a call to dispatch, an officer said, "unknown where the shots are coming from." Dispatch audio.

A witness described hearing at least 25 to 30 gunshots when the shooting began. In the hours following the shooting, officials say there were reports of gunfire in several areas around the city, but so far those reports have all been unfounded.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

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