Gavin Eugene Long shot six police officers, killing three of them, on his 29th birthday. He legally changed his name to Cosmo Setepenra, claiming affiliation with some separatist groups, but made it clear in a video on his YouTube channel that his ideology was his own. Referring to himself as a “freedom strategist,” he had recently traveled to Dallas, where five police officers were killed by another sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson, who was also African American.
In one online posting, Long questioned why some violent acts are perceived as criminal while others are celebrated. He suggested that victims of bullying need to resort to brute force, saying “100% have been successful through fighting back. Through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It has never worked, and it never will.”
It’s clear from the large footprint that Long left online that he was deeply troubled by the recent officer-involved shootings of African Americans and saw himself as part of a counter-revolution.