Baton Rouge Suspect Gavin Long Reportedly Suffered from PTSD

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Gavin Long may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Courtesy Metro UK.
Gavin Long may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Courtesy Metro UK.

The retired Marine accused of fatally shooting three police officers and wounding three others in Baton Rouge Sunday reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gavin Eugene Long told loved ones he had the serious mental health condition, a source close to the investigation told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

The source also said the 29-year-old had prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicines Atvian and Valium as well as the insomnia drug Lunestra.

Long joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005 and worked his way up to the rank of sergeant before his honorable discharge in 2010, military officials have confirmed. He spent one year in Iraq as a data network specialist during his service.

A 2012 Department of Veterans Affairs report revealed that since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan War servicemen treated at V.A. medical facilities have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Police said a 911 call reporting “a dude with a rifle” summoned officers to the scene of a stretch of commercial businesses along Airline Highway on July 17. A masked individual dressed in black and armed with an IWI Tavor assault rifle and a Springfield XD semiautomatic pistol opened fire, eventually killing East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola and Baton Rouge police officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald before a SWAT team sniper struck him from 100 yards away.

Long was pronounced dead on site.

Louisiana authorities have said the Kansas City, Missouri, resident arrived in Baton Rouge “several” days prior to the early morning shootout, during which he specifically sought out local law enforcement officials.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated,” Col. Michael Edmonson, State Police superintendent, said at a press conference Monday. “It was a calculated act.”

State officials also indicated that the deceased suspect was the lone gunman.

“At this point we know he was the only shooter,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told CBS affiliate WWL. “To the best of our knowledge, he was the only one at the scene of all of the shooting that was involved.”

There have been reports of another man killed behind a beauty supply store before officers arrived to the area.

Eyewitness Brady Vancel, who worked at a nearby shop, said he walked in the direction of the lot after hearing “a bunch of loud sounds.” There, he said, he came upon what appeared to a lifeless figure.

“He was on the ground, and from what I put together at that point, this man wasn’t alive, because he was just lying in the middle of the parking lot,” Vancel told WAFB-TV.

Shortly thereafter, Vancel said he noticed a gunman running toward him, who stopped in his tracks when the two made eye contact.

“I guess I kind of interfered with his escape route,” he said.

Vancel said the armed man — dressed in a manner that concealed his identity — then turned and ran in the opposite direction, as did he, taking up shelter in a house where he heard “multiple, multiple” gunshots.

“Probably heard, I estimate, 50-plus shots before I saw officers arriving on the scene.”

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