The three police officers who were killed in a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sunday, July 17, have been identified as Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola.
As previously reported, 29-year-old gunman Gavin Long opened fire at a shopping center on Sunday morning, killing three officers and injuring three more. Long, who was identified as the lone shooter, died in a shootout with police at the scene. Two other persons of interest were taken into custody and are being questioned.
Montrell Jackson, 32
Jackson was a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department who “loved his job,” according to The Advocate. He was once injured while trying to save a toddler from a burning building in 2007. Jackson welcomed a son of his own four months ago.
“[His job] motivated him to go out and change people’s lives,” Jackson’s friend Darnell Murdock told the news outlet on Sunday. “He was on [the force] to help people, to make you have a better day. He was humble, kind and sweet. … He wasn’t on there to write tickets. I don’t understand how this could happen to someone like him.”
“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me,” he wrote July 8. “In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. … Finally I personally want to send my prayers out to everyone directly affected by this tragedy. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protestors, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you.”
Matthew Gerald, 41
Local Baton Rouge news station WBRZ identified Gerald as the second officer killed on Sunday. Gerald was a former Marine who had been with the department for four months after graduating from the police academy in March. He had been on patrol by himself for only 12 days before he was shot and killed, according to WAFB. Gerald was married with two children. A candlelight vigil will be held for him Monday, July 18.
Brad Garafola, 45
East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office Deputy Garafola was identified as the third victim by his brother, Brett Garafola, via Facebook, according to WBRZ. He was a married father of four.
“I really don’t know how to say this or what I feel right now,” Brett wrote on Sunday afternoon. “For those of you that haven’t heard yet. My brother Deputy Brad Garafola was shot and killed in the attack on Airline Highway this morning. He leaves his wife and 4 kids behind in which he loved so much. I know a lot of you know Brad and his family. Please keep them and all of my family in your prayers.”
Brett continued, “Brad, I love you very much my brother. I respect and appreciate everything you did for us, this city, and your job to protect and serve. To the rest of my family and other officers please watch your 6 and God please watch over them.”
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