The shooter who gunned down three Baton Rouge law-enforcement officers and injured three more has ties with the Nation of Islam.
Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri apparently coincided his 29th birthday – July 17, 1987 – with his rampage. In his extensive online presence, which included tweets, self-published books, YouTube videos and a website, he said he was once a member of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, but said he had no affiliations with outside groups.
“Yeah, I also was a Nation of Islam member. Don’t affiliate me with it. Don’t affiliate me with anything,” he said in one video. “I thought my own thoughts. I made my own decisions. I’m the one who’s got to listen the judgment. That’s it. And my heart is pure.”
Long made a video stating he went to Dallas after the police shootings and called killer Micah Johnson “one of us.”
“I thought my own thoughts. I made my own decisions. I’m the one who’s got to listen the judgement. That’s it. And my heart is pure,” he said.
According to CBS News, Long rented a white Chevy vehicle in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 12 and drove to Baton Rouge.
Long was wearing black with his face covered when he began shooting “indiscriminately” as officers responded to a call about a man with an “assault rifle.” Long was killed at the scene. Officers initially thought two additional gunmen were involved, but later said there were no active shooters in the city.
According to court records, Long was divorced from his wife in 2011. They did not have any children. No criminal record could be found in Missouri.
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Long attended the University of Alabama for one semester in the spring of 2012 and made the dean’s list.
“The university police had no interaction with him while he was a student,” said Monica Greppin Watts, a university spokeswoman.
Long previously served as a U.S. Marine who left the branch in 2010 with an honorable discharge. His final Marine rank was E-5 (sergeant). According to the official military personnel file, Long served from Aug. 22, 2005 through Aug. 21, 2010, and was deployed in Iraq from June 2008 through January 2009. His military occupational specialty was Data Network Specialist and his duty assignments were listed as: Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot San Diego; School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, California; Marine Corps Communications Electrical School, Twentynine Palms, California; Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan; Marine Aircraft Group 38, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego.
Long received several awards:
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3rd Award)
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Navy Unit Commendation Medal
After leaving the service, Long wrote a self-published book entitled “The Cosmo Way: A W(H)olistic Guide for the Total Transformation of Melanated People.”
On his Amazon page, he described himself as reaching the rank of sergeant “in less than three years as one of the Corps most physically fit and disciplined Marines. During his five years as a Marine, Cosmo spent two years in Japan and did one tour in Iraq. While stationed in San Diego, California, Cosmo became a highly esteemed and sought after nutritionist and personal trainer. … After completing an Associate’s degree in General Studies at Central Texas College, Cosmo then attended Clark Atlanta University to further his education. After a year and a half at Clark Atlanta as a dean’s list student, he had a spiritual revelation that resulted in him dropping out of college, selling his two cars, giving away all of his material possessions, packing two suitcases and journeying to Africa – his ancestral homeland.”
Long had an active online presence under the name “Cosmo Setepenra.” He had a website entitled Convos with Cosmo. His most recent post was entitled “Standing Up When You Know You Are Right,” which began: “Today we are gonna be talking about standing up & standing firm when you know you are right. Or what I like to call “Holding ya Nuts”. I tell a riveting story of an experience that happened to me while I was in the Marines stationed in San Diego California. …”
According to the website Heavy, Long registered his website under the name Cosmo Setepenra after two years of living in Africa where he was “living like a King” and claimed an “Ethiopian Bloodline.”
The Los Angeles Times briefly stated Long was a “black separatist” but did not elaborate.
Public records show Long lived in Kansas City, Missouri; Grandview, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but found no ties with Louisiana.
However the Daily Caller reports YouTube videos on Long’s account show that he was a former Nation of Islam member. He also ranted against “crackers” and made references to Alton Sterling, the black man killed by police in Baton Rouge on July 5. Phone numbers on buildings in the video show that it was filmed in Baton Rouge. Calls placed to the numbers were not answered because they were out of service.
Heavy reported a series of eerie tweets from Long, including:
- “more white people believe in ghost than believe in racism.”
- “If they try & destroy you economically/socially, then you you strike back spiritually!
# Your weapons are infinite # many ways to skin a cat”
- “Power doesnt respect weakness. Power only respects Power.
# Alton # Castile”
His final tweet was sent just after 1 a.m. Eastern on Sunday: “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.”
Several days ago, WND reported police in Baton Rouge had arrested three, and are searching for a fourth, in an alleged plot to shoot and kill law enforcement officers that was uncovered while investigating the theft of eight guns at a pawn shop over the weekend. It is unknown whether the current situation is related to those arrests.
On July 8, Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said in an interview, “It’s a war on cops. And the Obama administration is the Neville Chamberlain of this war. … I think their continued appeasement at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems of this country has directly led to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”