The suspected gunman

Ex-Marine 'seemed eager for blacks to fight back'

Long, seen here in a YouTube video, made controversial statements after five police officers were fatally shot in Dallas.
Long, seen here in a YouTube video, made controversial statements after five police officers were fatally shot in Dallas.PHOTO: GAVIN LONG/YOUTUBE

BATON ROUGE • The day after five police officers were fatally shot during a protest in Dallas, 29-year-old black man Gavin Long took to YouTube to express a controversial view on the incident.

"I'm not gonna harp on that, you know, with a brother killing the police. You get what I'm saying?" he said in the video.

Long - who law enforcement officials said is believed to have killed three officers in Baton Rouge and wounded three others on Sunday - appears to have been eager for blacks to take a strong physical stance against mistreatment by the authorities.

In one video, referring to Native Americans, he said: "When they were extincted by the same people that run this country, my question to you, just something you can think about: At what point should they have stood up?"

In another, he praised the Deacons for Defence - a group of African Americans who formed an armed self-defence group during the civil rights movement of the 1960s - as men who "when they kids was also getting killed by cops and other white supremacy members, they stood up and stood firm".

Long's cousin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said family members believed that Long had gone to Louisiana to celebrate his birthday on Sunday and to promote a book he had written recently.

Records released by the military show that Long served five years in the Marine Corps as a data network specialist, from August 2005 to August 2010. He left active duty as a sergeant, according to the records.

The records show that he deployed once to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, but did not experience direct ground combat. He was also assigned to units in Miramar, California, and Okinawa, Japan.

Although a review of Long's online postings did not immediately reveal a motive, his Twitter page offered a hint that he may not have feared death.

"Just bc you wake up every morning doesn't mean that you're living," he posted not long before the shootings. "And just bc you shed your physical body doesn't mean that you're dead."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-Marine 'seemed eager for blacks to fight back''. Print Edition | Subscribe