BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards briefed the press on Monday afternoon to provide updates on the investigation into a tragic shooting that took the lives of three officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday.
The governor began his address by noting that six days have passed before the shooting without any arrests being made in connection with protests in the Capital City.
State Police have confirmed that shooter is in fact Kansas City resident 29-year-old Gavin Long. Edwards called the shooting a “diabolical attack on the very fabric of society.” Long was killed during a firefight with police at the scene where the officers were injured and killed.
“He came here from somewhere else to do harm to our community,” said Gov. Edwards. “Specifically the law enforcement in our community.”
After discussing the shooter, he moved to praise the efforts of the Baton Rouge law enforcement officers that “ran toward danger in order to protect the public.”
“There is no division in Louisiana and let there be no mistake. No doubt. We support our law enforcement,” continued Edwards.
Mayor “Kip” Holden also took to the podium to thank mayors across the country, including the mayor of Dallas, for reaching out during the city’s time of crisis.
Louisiana State Police’s Col. Mike Edmonson also provided the latest details on how the shooting unfolded.
“There’s no doubt these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated,” said Edmonson.
Edmonson said striking video from the scene reveals that Long was more than capable to carry out the attack. State Police now feel confident stating that the shooter carried out the attack alone, but the investigation is still ongoing. The now dead gunman was described as "accurate" and "deliberate." Edmonson would later confirm that he was shot and killed by Baton Rouge SWAT.
A slideshow presented by LSP’s Edmonson contained an images of the weapons the shooter had in his possession: an Israel Weapon Industries IWI Tavor bullpup rifle, a 9mm handgun and an M4 variant rifle.
Edmonson says Long rented a car in Missouri before heading to Baton Rouge. State Police and federal investigators are still working to piece together the route he took. Anyone with information about this is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. Edmonson said the shooter was looking for a place to specifically target, and he confirmed that Long was not in Baton Rouge for very long before the shooting happened.
Edmonson also said they are still investigating how a social media page related to Long continued to post after his death despite many dismissing the page as a hoax. Ballistic and electronic evidence has been collected and is being investigated.
Edmonson would go on to praise the heroic efforts of all law enforcement officers who answered the call of duty on what would have otherwise been an ordinary Sunday morning and afternoon.
The three officers who were killed during the gunfire all died in the same area. One EBRSO deputy Nicholas Tullier remains in “very critical condition,” according to LSP. He was shot in the head and stomach. Another injured deputy, Bruce Simmons, will undergo another surgery this afternoon for non-life threatening injuries sustained during the exchange. His arm bone was shattered.
Investigators have yet to officially announce a motive for the ambush attack. Edmonson said that at this point in the investigation, there is no concrete information that allows investigators to definitively connect Sunday's shooting to the recent shooting of Alton Sterling by BRPD officers. Investigators do believe the area near the intersection of Airline Highway and Old Hammond may have been selected because it is frequented by law enforcment officers, but Edmonson said that isn't certain.
BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie said during the press conference that he believes Long would have continued to BRPD Headquarters just a handful of miles away from the site of the ambush attack had he not been taken out by a SWAT officer with a shot from 100 yards away.
"This guy was going to another location," said the BRPD chief. "He wasn't going to stop here."
While praising the work of Baton Rouge law enforcement officers including his own force, Dabadie quickly became emotional. He said his officers did exactly as they were trained when presented with a situation that required the often criticized "militarized tactics" to diffuse the situation. Tears were also shed by the governor and others at the media event as he looked on.
As Gov. Edwards said on Sunday evening after the shooting, federal investigators will be joining local agencies in order to "leave no stone unturned" in the investigation.