Authorities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have identified a retired Marine sergeant as the gunman who shot six police officers on Sunday. Gavin Long, a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, killed three cops while injuring three others. The police gunned him down shortly after the ambush.
Long went on his deadly shooting spree on his 29th birthday.
He was reportedly using an AR-15 rifle and had his face covered when he began shooting. He was also wearing body armor.
Long had a substantial social media presence. Going by the online alias of Cosmo Setepenra, the vet was a self-declared life guru, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer. In his YouTube videos, he appeared deeply concerned with government surveillance and regularly shared his extremist beliefs and conspiracy theories with his followers.
Here is what we know about him:
Time with the Marine Corps:
He served in Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010, including an eight-month deployment in Iraq. As BuzzFeed reports, Long was a sergeant and a data network specialist. His awards included the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
Long spent much of his career assigned to locations in Okinawa and Southern California.
His Life Post-Retirement:
After leaving the Marines, Long got an associate’s degree in general studies at Central Texas College. He was listed as a Dean’s List student at the University of Alabama, where spent a semester before attending Clark Atlanta University for three semesters.
It was there that he had a “spiritual revelation,” according to his website. He dropped out of college, sold his cars and gave away “all of his material possessions” to travel to Africa.
He also penned three books under his alias Cosmo Setepenra while he was there.
Views on Law Enforcement:
In his online posts, Long had discussed the Dallas attack on police officers and was upset by the recent police shootings of African American men. He also appeared eager for the black community to take a strong physical stance against mistreatment by authorities.
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
If they try & destroy you economically/socially, then you you strike back spiritually!— Convos With Cosmo (@ConvosWithCosmo) July 8, 2016
# Your weapons are infinite # many ways to skin a cat
“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors, from victims fighting their bullies, 100% have been successful through fighting back through bloodshed,” he said in a video. “Zero have been successful through simply protesting. It has never been successful and it never will.”
Following the Dallas shooting, where a gunman named Micah Johnson killed five cops during a Black Lives Matter protest, Long praised the shooter.
Long also commented on the Alton Sterling shooting in an email, sent to his contacts under alias Cosmo.
An email sent on July 11th from Gavin Long under his pen name Cosmo Setepenra: pic.twitter.com/wmjvzenmGL— Talal Ansari (@TalalNAnsari) July 17, 2016
This was his final tweet 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
He also said in a video that he would not let the cops arrest him.
“I know they would try to arrest me, and I know I would die there because I won’t let them kidnap me,” he said.
Social Media Presence:
In his videos, podcasts and blog entries, Long described himself as a vegetarian and discussed healthy eating. Apparently, he also conducted sports nutrition workshops all around the world. He had traveled to over 30 states in the U.S., and internationally to the Bahamas, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Maldives, Iraq and to the African continent, to name a few.
Long, who got divorced in 2011, also discussed being an “alpha male” and tips to “keeping your woman in check.”
He also believed either a gang or the government was stalking him.
My bodycam footage of me in Dallas out in them streets educating our people pt2— Convos With Cosmo (@ConvosWithCosmo) July 10, 2016
# Stand Tall, Stand Wild, Stand Free pic.twitter.com/oJh1VDZ9B0
He was not a Muslim. He also claimed he was not part of any specific group or movement. However, CNN claims the police found a membership card showing the shooter’s affiliation to a black sovereign citizen group, the Washitaw Nation of Mu’urs.
Investigators found on the body of the dead shooter Gavin Long a card suggesting he was a member of the Washitaw Nation. #BatonRouge— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) July 18, 2016
The court documents suggest he had declared himself a “sovereign citizen,” according to the Kansas City Star. For those unaware, sovereign citizens believe they are exempt from federal and state laws, including paying taxes — the FBI has classified them as a domestic threat.
Moreover, Long had no known criminal record in Missouri. It is also unclear if he had a history of mental illnesses or breakdowns.
Banner / Thumbnail : Gavin Long / Youtube via REUTERS