Authorities sought to learn more on Monday about a decorated ex-U.S. Marine sergeant who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, some weeks after police there shot dead a black man, sparking nationwide protests including one shattered by the massacre of five Dallas policemen.
The suspect in the latest case, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, was shot dead on Sunday morning in a gunfight with police who converged on the scene of a confrontation that Mayor Kip Holden said began as an ambush.
Two Baton Rouge Police Department officers and one sheriff’s deputy were killed and one sheriff’s deputy was critically wounded. Another officer and one other deputy suffered less severe wounds.
Police did not identify the suspect but a U.S. government official told Reuters he was Gavin Long, of Kansas City, Missouri. Long, who was black, was reported to have attacked police on his 29th birthday.
“It’s hard to know what his motivations were,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told MSNBC reporters on Monday. A news conference was scheduled for 2 p.m. to discuss the shooter, Edwards said.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in remarks prepared for a conference of black law enforcement officers, condemned the Baton Rouge attack “in the strongest terms possible” and said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies were in the city to help local authorities.
Colonel Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, told a news conference the gunman was believed to have acted alone.
It was not immediately clear whether there was a link between the bloodshed and unrest over the police killings of two black men in questionable circumstances this month – Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge on July 5, and Philando Castile, 32, near St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 6.