“Pure, unadulterated evil,” was how Governor John Bel Edwards described the killing of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge during a Monday press conference.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that these officers were intentionally targeted and assassinated,”
Louisiana State Police Commander Mike Edmonson stated.
He gave the media a detailed description of Sunday’s firefight between Baton Rouge cops and deputies, and the gunman, Gavin Long – including showing photos of the multiple weapons Long brought to the attack..
But the rest of Monday’s press conference acknowledged the sacrifices officers and deputies made Sunday morning.
“It was an ordinary Sunday morning. What we saw was first responders become extraordinary,” Col. Edmonson said.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux spoke of his deputies, killed and wounded in the gun battle.
“We’re grieving the loss of Deputy Brad Garafalo,” Gautreaux said, calling the deputy a hero. “He died attempting to get to a fallen Baton Rouge officer, to render aid.”
Sgt. Bruce Simmons, who does not have life-threatening injuries, is facing several more surgeries.
“The bone running from his elbow to his shoulder was completely shattered,” Gautreaux explained.
And one deputy is still fighting for his life.
“Cpl. Nick Tullier was shot in the head and the stomach, and is in ICU, on a breathing machine. He’s in very critical condition.”
Gautreaux applauded their courage.
“They ran to the threat, not from the threat.”
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dadabie also spoke of his fallen officers
“One of the officers who ran to this fight, Matthew Gerald, he spent his whole life serving this country and our city,” Dabadie said of the veteran of three military tours in Iraq.
The chief choked up while talking about Cpl. Montrell Jackson, who he’d trained ten years before.
“A couple of days before this happened, I went and was talking to the guys, trying to lift their spirits. Montrell ended up giving me a pep talk,” Chief Dabadie said, and his voice quavered as he added, “That’s the last time I spoke to him.”
Throughout these tributes, Governor John Bel Edwards -- the son, grandson and brother of sheriffs -- could be seen tearing up. And then, he quoted from Cpl. Montrell Jackson’s final Facebook post.
“Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” the governor read. “If you see me and need a hug, I got you.”