The black U.S. Marine Corps veteran who shot dead three police officers in Louisiana's capital targeted them and assassinated them, authorities said on Monday, as the United States reeled from the latest deadly violence involving police and African-Americans.
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One of three officers wounded in Sunday's shootings was hospitalized and fighting for his life, police said at a news conference. They said three guns were recovered from the shooting in Baton Rouge, which has been the scene of repeated protests against police violence following the July 5 fatal shooting by officers of Alton Sterling, a black man, outside a convenience store.
"There is no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated," Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson said of the Sunday incident at the news conference. "It was a calculated act against those who work to protect this community every single day."
Edmonson said "the most compelling piece of evidence is the video."
The gunman has been identified as Gavin Long, a 29-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri, who served in the Marines for five years, including a 2008 deployment in the Iraq war. Long, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, was shot dead on Sunday morning in a gunfight with police.
Racial tension in the United States has been especially high since a black former U.S. Army Reserve soldier fatally shot five Dallas police officers who were patrolling a protest over the police shootings of Sterling and another black man in Minnesota.
The suspect said he wanted to change his name from Gavin Eugene Long to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra in May 2015, according to Jackson County, Missouri, public records. But court officials said he never completed the process of legally changing his name.
A website, social media accounts and YouTube videos that appeared tied to Long include complaints about police treatment of black people and praise for killings of the Dallas policemen.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told Monday's news conference that Long "came to do harm" and Edwards called the shooting "a diabolical attack" on society.
"It's just pure, unadulterated evil," Edwards said.
(Additional reporting by Sam Karlin in Baton Rouge, David Alexander and Eric Walsh in Washington, Laila Kearney in New York; Writing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool; Editing by Bill Trott)