D.A. reveals details of July 2016 ambush on officers
BATON ROUGE – An expansive review of the ambush of officers that left three law enforcement officers dead and others injured last year were revealed by the East Baton Rouge District Attorney.
Sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola and Baton Rouge Police Department officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald were killed by a man who targeted police on Airline Highway. The gunman, Gavin Long, was shot and killed.
On July 17 around 8 a.m., officers were notified of a person with a rifle, later identified as Long, near the B-Quik store on Airline Highway. Officer Gerald was at the store buying a drink and called for backup where he was met by Deputy Garafola and Corporal Jackson.
According to Moore, Long first shot Gerald and Jackson as they were searching around the store. Garafola heard the gunshots and later found Gerald on the ground shot. As Garafola was trying to render aid, Long began firing at Garafola. Moore said that Deputy Garafola fired 13 shots at Long and "put up a heck of a fight" while trying to stop Long.
According to Moore, Long then ran into the woods near the store for cover as others responded to the scene.
Officers from BRPD and the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office responded to the scene of reports of shots fired and three officers down. As law enforcement responded, BRPD Corporal Chad Montgomery, Deputy Nicholas Tullier and Sergeant Bruce Simmons engaged in a gun fight with Long and were injured.
Long was firing shots at them from the woods so he was not seen by officers responding.
Members of the Baton Rouge Police Department's Special Response Team also exchanged gun fire with Long and killed him on the scene.
Following a brief overview of the ambush, Moore broke down the time line of the ambush and shared details of what occurred.
Moore noted that Long was staying at a motel near the store and surveillance video showed Long driving along Airline Highway when he spotted Gerald in the store's parking lot. Long made an illegal U-turn in front of oncoming traffic to turn into the parking lot of the store, Moore showed during the presentation.
Moore also played the radio dispatch from the ambush and stated that it is "hard to listen to, no matter how many times you hear it." Officers can be heard saying, "Three officers hit. Take cover! Do not where the shooter is. Possibly a sniper."
Moore stated that Long fired at least 43 shots and a total of 106 shots were fired during the entire ambush. Long was former Marine and Moore noted that "he had extensive training with weapons" and used steel-tipped ammunition.
Long left a suicide note in his rental car stating that where he stated that people "will continue to strike back against all cops until we see that bad cops are no longer protected and allowed to flourish."
"We believe he was ready to die," Moore said.
Moore noted that Long had crystal meth in his system and a .02 level of alcohol in his system. Long took out his SIM card in his phone and paid in cash only leading up to the ambush.
In writings by Long found during the investigation, Moore stated that Long wrote that he found protests to be worthless, suggesting that he did not attend any that took place in Baton Rouge at the time.
Moore thanked the Louisiana State Police for their assistance during the investigation and stated that it took nearly a year long to complete. He wanted the investigation to be thorough and transparent when it was finally presented.
Late Friday evening, East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released a statement on Moore's findings. In it, she says "I commend District Attorney Hillar Moore and his office for conduction a thorough investigation. The information and footage released today allow the world see the true courage of all of these officers as they acted without hesitation to protect each other and those in their community. As I've said before, their watch has ended, but not their impact on the community that they served. I continue to keep their families in my prayers and ask that my fellow citizens do the same."
To read Moore's full report click here and see below for video representations of the ambush:
The day after the July 17 attack, authorities provided a detailed account of the attack. Had the gunman not been stopped, he likely would have moved locations and kept killing, authorities said at the time. Click HERE to see the original report.