The gunman who shot dead three police officers and wounded another three in Baton Rouge has been revealed as an egotistical former Marine who later became a lifestyle guru and also urged black people to ‘fight back through bloodshed.’
Gavin Eugene Long, 29, drove a rented car from his home in Kansas City, Missouri, to Louisiana, on Sunday – his 29th birthday – where he opened fire after police were called to a gas station on Airline Highway at around 8.30am.
Long did not lure the officers to their deaths, as previous reports stated, but ambushed them after a member of the public called 911, Louisiana State Police’s Col. Mike Edmonson said.
Officers responded to reports of a masked man, dressed all in black and and wielding an AR-15 type assault rifle.
After shooting dead officers Montrell Jackson, 32, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Brad Garafola, 45; and wounding Nicholas Tullier, 41, Bruce Simmons, 51, and a third unidentified officer, 41, Long was pursued to the nearby B-Quik convenience store, where he was shot dead.
Long’s body was found next door, outside of a fitness center, authorities said.
Since then, it has emerged that the shooter was a former Marine, who was honorably discharged in 2010 after achieving the rank of sergeant.
Long, who claimed to have once been a member of the Nation of Islam, also declared himself a ‘sovereign citizen’ – part of a movement that believes the government and police hold no authority over them.
In a 2011 bulletin, the FBI said it ‘considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement’ and called the group a ‘growing domestic threat to law enforcement.’
After leaving the Marines, Long became a life coach and self-styled ‘Alpha-preneur’ and called himself Cosmo Setepenra.
Under the pseudonym, a delusional Long pedaled his warped world view to followers through podcasts and YouTube videos, and appears to have been in Dallas a short time after the police shootings there, where he uploaded a video advocating violent protests by African Americans.
In the footage, shot before he traveled to Baton Rouge, Long said: ‘One hundred per cent of revolutions, victims fighting their oppressors, victims fighting their bullies, 100 per cent have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed.
‘Zero have been successful by simply protesting. It has never worked and it never will. You’ve gotta fight back, that’s the only way a bully knows to quit. He doesn’t understand words.
‘If y’all wanna keep protesting but for the real ones, the serious ones, the alpha ones – we know what it’s going to take. It’s only fighting back or money. That’s all they care about. Revenue and blood. Nothing else.
‘Don’t even think about it. That’s why I don’t go to protests, because I know I speak well, I’m articulate, I can motivate, I can inspire, and those are the ones they arrest. So I know they’d try to arrest me and I know I would die right there because you’re not going to kidnap me.
‘That’s what (rebel slave) Nat Turner did. That’s what Malcolm (X) did. You’ve got to stand, you’ve got to stand on your rights.
‘Men, this is all for you. I don’t wanna see women at rallies and all that. I feel embarrassed by seeing that. Let me know what one of the elders were telling me in Africa.
‘When men would go out to fight the enemy, the one that would tell her man, if you come back here defeated, I’m killing you. You get what I’m saying. The man knew he couldn’t go home.
‘Either he killed his enemy or he die. Because the kid sees that – damn my daddy came home, he got his ass whooped. He just a b****. I’d rather have this m*********** die, at least this kid knows he stands for something’.
On his website, Long claims to have lost 80lbs at the age of 16 after ‘self-educating’ about fitness, before spending five years in the Marines ‘as one of the Corps most physically fit recruits’, completing one tour of Iraq.
According to military records, Long was a Marine from 2005 to 2010 and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served in Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, and records show he received several medals during his military career, including one for good conduct.
Long, who received an honorable discharge, was listed as a ‘data network specialist’ in the Marines.
While stationed in California, he said he became ‘a highly esteemed and sought after nutritionist and personal trainer’ then attended Central Texas College and Clark Atlanta University before dropping out, selling all of his possessions and completing a trip around Africa, which he describes as his ‘ancestral homeland’.
During the trip, Long claimed to have visited Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Egypt, while on Twitter claiming that he has an ‘Ethiopian Bloodline.’
Long regularly uploaded podcasts under the name Cosmo in which he teaches followers how to become ‘Alpha males’, including advice on ‘checking your women’ and ‘the power of not giving a f***’.
He also spoke with radio host Lance Scurvin, who is based in Florida, and had ranted about the death of Alton Sterling and police claims that the officers’ body cams had fallen off during the attack, saying that police should release the footage of the cameras falling off.
In a separate video, Long revealed his previous involvement with a black power group, saying: ‘I wanted to let y’all know, because if anything happened to me – I’m an alpha male, I stand firm and I stand for mine, till the end, till the last day in this flesh.
‘Don’t affiliate me with nothing. Don’t affiliate me with the black business school. Yeah I was also a Nation of Islam member, I’m not affiliated with it. Don’t affiliate me with The Money Team.
‘I was a Christian, I was in Africa. Don’t try and say he was in Africa, don’t say he was this and that. They try to put you with ISIS or something like that. No, I’m affiliated with the spirit of justice, nothing else. Nothing more, nothing less. Make sure, there are no affiliations.
‘I thought my own thoughts, I made my own decisions, I’m the one who gotta listen to the judgement. And my heart is pure.’
From posts on several conspiracy theory websites, it also appears he believed that he was a victim of ‘gang-stalking’, a form of intense surveillance that involves all aspects of a person’s life.
Long told people on message boards that he was a ‘TI’ – meaning targeted individual – was was followed around the clock, saying he had taken to wearing cameras in order to expose those responsible.
In 2011, shortly after leaving the military, Long divorced his wife Aireyona Hill, according to Missouri court filings, which said they did not have children.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.