Former marine Gavin Long, who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, is believed to have had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Long, 29, was based in San Diego with the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010, according to military records. He was deployed to Iraq in 2008 for about eight months and worked as a data network specialist, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) confirmed in a statement.
“Veterans Health Administration records show a number of contacts with this Veteran from 2008–2013; the last known encounter with VA was in August 2013,” said the statement.
The VA could not disclose more information due to a federal privacy law.
Long, from Kansas City, Missouri, told friends and relatives that he suffered from PTSD, although it is not known whether he was diagnosed with the disorder, CNN reported on Wednesday. The suspect had filled a prescription for Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication, as recently as June, according to CNN. Long also had prescriptions for Valium and the sleep drug Lunesta.
The shooter opened fire in a shopping area on Airline Highway early Sunday morning. He was shot dead by a SWAT team officer.
One of the victims was also a veteran. Matthew Gerald, 41, was a former marine and Black Hawk crew leader in the Army.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Louisiana Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said Long deliberately targeted officers.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated,” said Edmonson. “It was a calculated act against those who work to protect this community every single day.”
Baton Rouge had been beset with protests after the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling, followed the next day by the death of Philando Castile near Minneapolis.
The Baton Rouge shooting of police officers comes after a deadly ambush-style attack in which 5 officers were killed in Dallas by Micah Johnson on July 7. Johnson was an Army Reserve veteran who had served in Afghanistan.
President Obama condemned the attack on the Baton Rouge officers.
“These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one,” President Barack Obama said. “They right no wrongs. They advance no causes.”