New details are emerging on Monday about the man who killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, La. on Sunday—just one incident in "a summer of numbing violence"—including his being a U.S. military veteran and saying in an online video that revolutions are only successful "through bloodshed."
The shooter, who was killed at the scene, has been identified as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri. He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2010 holding the rank of sergeant. During his five-year stint in the service, which included a June 2008 to January 2009 deployment in Iraq, he received several medals, according to media reports citing military records.
Long also had an online presence under the name Cosmo Setepenra. According to NBC News, the website Convos With Cosmo has Long listed as its registrant. The About section describes Cosmo as a "freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author, and spiritual advisor." It also states that he, following "a spiritual revelation," traveled to Africa. According to a May 10 Twitter post from @ConvosWithCosmo, it was a two-year trip.
His online presence was on YouTube as well. In a July 10 episode of "Convos With Cosmo" on "protesting, oppression, and how to deal with bullies," Long says he's in Dallas "on a book tour giving my knowledge out to the people," and had decided to visit the city before the shooting—referring to the July 8 incident in which Micah X. Johnson—also an African-American U.S. military veteran—fatally shot five police officers in that city.
Long says in the video that "100 percent of revolutions—of victims fighting their oppressors, from victims fighting their bullies—100 percent have been successful through fighting back. Through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It has never worked and it never will."
"You've got to fight back. That's the only way a bully knows to quit. ... If you all want to keep protesting, do that. But the serious ones, the 'alpha' ones. We know what it's going to take."
"Revenue and blood" are "all they care about," he says. He adds later, "You're in a world that's ran [sic] by devils." Long is "so powerful" he says, because he "stands on his rights."
On Twitter, his most recent post was from July 16, the day before the shooting:
Just bc you wake up every morning doesn't mean that you're living. And just bc you shed your physical body doesn't mean that you're dead.— Convos With Cosmo (@ConvosWithCosmo) July 17, 2016
In another tweet from last week, he says "violence is an answer":
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Violence is not THE answer (its a answer), but at what point do you stand up so that your people dont become the Native Americans...EXTINCT?— Convos With Cosmo (@ConvosWithCosmo) July 13, 2016
In another recent tweet, he repeats a theme from his YouTube episode:
You cant talk (or protest) the devil into changing his ways, this has never been done and never will— Convos With Cosmo (@ConvosWithCosmo) July 10, 2016
# 1.Exact Justice (Blood) or 2.Revenue
In addition to the three officers killed, three other officers were also wounded in the shooting, which may have occurred on Long's 29th birthday. The officers killed were 45-year-old Brad Garafola of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office, and two members of the Baton Rouge Police Department: 32-year-old Montrell Jackson and 41-year-old Matthew Gerald.
Montrell Jackson's Facebook post following the killing of of 37-year-old Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police officers two weeks earlier is making media rounds on Monday. In it, Jackson said he was "tired physically and emotionally."
He added: "I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if it loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. "
"These are trying times," he wrote. "Please don't let hate infect your heart."
As the Los Angeles Times reported, the shooting Sunday in Baton Rouge was "the nation's fourth high-profile deadly encounter involving police in the last two weeks."
According to civil rights activist and RAINBOW Push Coalition founder Jesse Jackson, it has been "a summer of numbing violence from Orlando to Dallas, from Louisiana to Minnesota, from the South Side of Chicago to the West Side."
In his statement posted Sunday, he adds, "We do not yet know the twisted motive for gunning down six police officers, killing three of them in Baton Rouge, La., this morning just as the city was headed for church. We do know that violence has absolutely no part to play in our civil rights struggle. Those who engage in violence betray our movement and rob it of the moral high ground. We also know that the lack of mental health services and easy access to guns is a lethal combination."