There were reports that Baton Rouge shooter Gavin Long had a military background in the aftermath of the horrific ambush he laid for police officers. Long killed three officers, and wounded at least three others. He was killed after a gunfight with law enforcement.
Well, the military background has been confirmed. Long was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, who also lived by another alias. He was also possibly a member of a black separatist group (via The Guardian):
Gavin Long, the man
identified on Sunday as the deadly shooter of police officers in Baton Rouge, left behind an online trail to web pages featuring complaints about the treatment of African Americans by police.
Using the pseudonym “Cosmo Setepenra”, Long, 29, railed in a series of videos, photographs and online writings at perceived injustices against black people.
“You gotta fight back,” he urged viewers in a video recorded a week ago.
Describing the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month as “justice”, Long urged black men to make sacrifices for their race.
Styling himself as a life coach and “spiritual advisor,” Long distanced himself, however, from well-known groups campaigning for African American rights.
“I thought my own thoughts, I made my own decisions – I’m the one who’s gotta listen to the judgment,” he said in another clip.
The US Marines confirmed on Sunday that Long was honorably discharged in 2010 after five years of military service, including a year in Iraq. He reached the rank of sergeant. Long’s attack in Baton Rouge followed the Dallas attack by Micah Johnson, a US army veteran who served in Afghanistan.
CNN reported that the separatist group he supposedly belonged to was called Washitaw Nation:
After he was killed, investigators found a card on Long's body suggesting he was a member of the Washitaw Nation, according to two law enforcement officials.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Washitaw Nation "as a sovereign tribe descended from pre-Columbian blacks who settled in North America."
Long legally changed his name to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra in May 2015, claiming that he was "seeking to correct" his name, because he was part of the indigenous society, United Washitaw De Dugdahmoundvah Mu'er nation.
The group is just one of many fringe groups to which the gunman may have belonged.