Military medical records for the Kansas City man who gunned down police officers in Louisiana last month raised new questions Tuesday for family members about his mental state.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show that Gavin Eugene Long hadn’t been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, contrary to what family members had thought. Doctors at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City instead said he was suffering from an “adjustment disorder with depressed mood.”
Long was in the Marines from 2005 to 2010 and served eight months in Iraq. He was a data network specialist and rose to the rank of sergeant.
Though he didn’t serve in combat in Iraq, Long told doctors he suffered PTSD after a friend showed him videos of decapitated bodies, the AP said. During Long’s VA evaluation, he said he avoided movies about the war and was described as “unable to experience tenderness, loving feelings.”
Since the July attacks, when authorities say Long hunted and killed three police officers in Baton Rouge and wounded three others, Long’s family and friends have struggled to understand what led to his actions on the morning of his 29th birthday.
Carl Woodley, Long’s stepfather, told The Star on Tuesday that he was surprised Long hadn’t been diagnosed with PTSD. Family and friends have said Long was different after his five years in the Marines. Anytime Woodley would ask his stepson about his experiences, Long would say he didn’t want to talk about it.
Woodley said more should be known about his stepson’s military experience. Long reportedly called a family member an hour or two before the July shootings and said that “some things happened in the military” that he couldn’t tell anybody about.
“I’m still in shock about what happened,” Woodley said. “I’m hurting about it.”
After the military, Long wrote three self-help books. He had multiple websites and YouTube channels and had built a persona and business venture under the name Cosmo Setepenra. He billed himself as a life coach who charged $119 an hour, a spiritual leader, fitness buff and nutritionist who went from being a chubby teen to losing 80 pounds.
The records obtained by the AP show that Long had gone to the VA the year after he left the Marines and complained about having trouble falling asleep and being able to stay asleep. According to the documents, Long avoided crowds and experienced “suspiciousness of others.”
“He feels sad but claims he does not know what he feels sad about,” his medical file noted.
Symptoms of adjustment disorder with depressed mood include feeling sad and hopeless. According to the Mayo Clinic, people diagnosed with this disorder experience a lack of pleasure with things they used to enjoy.