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Baton Rouge mourns deadly ambush of police officers

Posted: 8:13 AM, Jul 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-19 13:13:35Z

Mourners Monday left cards, flowers and balloons to honor the three officers killed in a deadly ambush by a former Marine from Kansas City.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, Louisiana state police said Long came with the intent to kill as many police officers as he could.

This ambush began Sunday morning with Long driving a Chevy Malibu he rented in Missouri. He spots a East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff cruiser parked at the B-Quik convenience store on Airline Highway and he pulls into the Hair Crown Beauty Supply.

Cameras capture him as he paces back-and-forth by the side of the building and then walking up to the front of the convenient store.

The cruiser is empty, so Long walked back to his car.

He drives off but passes by a police officer vacuuming his car at the car wash next to the convenience store. He pulls into the backlot of the fitness center next door.

However by the time he gets out the officer is gone. 

So he starts walking the perimeter of the convenience store and the beauty supply store. By now, someone has called 911 and officers are on the way. Soon a gun battle breaks out in the alleyway of the beauty supply store.

In the firefight, Long murdered Baton Rouge police officers Montrell Jackson, Michael Gerald and Sheriff Deputy Brad Garafola.

It was Garafola’s last shift at this store before he was set to head for vacation.

“I’m still in shock that he's gone. I walk outside and still expect to see him mowing his grass,” said Madison Young, 16, who's the daughter of one of his neighbors. 

“Everybody knew him and he just made everyone feel so safe all the time and we knew if we ever had a problem with anything or anyone, we could come to him,” Young said.

Deputy Garafola left his cover behind to check on the two officers.

“He loved his family a lot and he was great with his kids. Everyday for school he would walk down to the end of the block with his wife and go pick up his daughter Samantha from the bus stop and walk her back home,” Young said.

Garafola leaves behind his wife and four children.

“I can't imagine the pain his family is going through right now and I know my pain is no where near close to theirs,” Young said.

The circumstances are still mind-boggling for this young woman. 

“It's insane that these people are doing this to those who were protecting us. I just think it's messed up,” Young said.

“I saw my baby laying on that slab in the coroners’ office I looked at," said Jose Jackson, Montrell’s father. “He didn’t deserve it, but I know he died for a cause doing what he loved,”

Long’s reign of terror ended when additional officers showed up.
 
A member of the Baton Rouge SWAT took the kill shot that ended Long’s life from over 100 yards out. 

Before SWAT took Long down, the Kansas City metro native wounded two deputies, one remains in critical condition at the hospital.

Law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions continue to investigate Long’s timeline and connections.

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Andres Gutierrez can be reached at  andres.gutierrez@kshb.com

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