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The latest on Gavin Long: Shooter is at least third ‘targeted individual’ to commit mass shooting

The Kansas City Star

Updated at 4:35 p.m.

A picture is emerging of Gavin Long’s involvement with so-called “targeted individuals.”

In Apri1 2015, Long contacted a California organization that serves as a support group for people who believe military or government officials are electronically tracking and harassing them. The harassment can vary from mild to severe, with some of the worst cases allegedly involving the use of secret weapons to inflict pain, according to victims, who call themselves “targeted individuals.”

Long asked to be put on the organization’s “buddy list” while living in West Africa. But a month later, he deactivated his account without explanation, according to the organization, People Against Covert Torture & Surveillance International, also known as PACTS International.

Long is at least the third “targeted individual” to become a mass shooter in recent years, said Derrick Robinson, PACTS’ executive director.

Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old civilian contractor, killed a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard in September 2013 before police killed him. Two weeks earlier, Robinson had exchanged emails with Alexis, who thanked PACTS for finally providing answers to things happening to him.

“In his case, he was suffering from hearing voices, from microwave burns, from stalking activity and something else. I don’t remember,” Robinson said. “He was very confused about what was going on. He wanted some answers.”

Alexis asked Robinson for addresses of other victims so that he could write to them, but Robinson said he could not give out that information.

“Two weeks later he walked into the Navy Yard and blew away 12 people,” Robinson said.

In November 2014, another “targeted individual,” lawyer Myron May, opened fire at the Florida State University library before police killed him. He believed government “stalkers” were firing a direct energy weapon at him to inflict pain.

Long had posted a video of May on his YouTube channel. That leads Robinson to believe Long patterned his shooting rampage off May, who may have patterned his Florida State shooting after Alexis and the Navy Yard.

Based on YouTube videos posted by Long, it appears Long felt the Marines were targeting him and keeping him from getting jobs, Robinson said.

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Long apparently served as a contact for targeted individuals seeking help from another group, the Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance.

FFCHS describes itself as a support group for people marginalized by electronic harassment campaigns, often at the hands of government or law enforcement personnel.

The group’s January newsletter included its “buddy list,” a series of regional contacts offering support for people subjected to these types of campaigns. That list had Long’s e-mail, rico717@gmail.com, as the contact for victims in Burkina Faso, a western Africa nation.

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Long listed the same email address in his divorce papers.

Gregory Mann, a Kansas City, North resident, serves as a local contact for FFCHS.

Mann told The Star on Monday that he did not know Long. He denounced Long’s actions in Baton Rouge.

“His actions were wrong,” Mann said. “That has happened to too many targeted individuals.”

Mann described himself as a former Marine and retired budget analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Kansas City. Mann said he became a target of harassment after he filed a complaint about hiring practices at the federal department.

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“What we are dealing with is something way beyond what America is used to,” Mann said.

Officials with FFCHS were not immediately available for comment.

Its website takes a conspiratorial tone.

“All U.S. Persons and Others can be used for Human Experimentations; these victim (targets) have become marginalized members of their communities and society in these United States,” the FFCHS website reads. “Marginalized and abused by such U.S. Patents as; Remote Brain experimentation, Remote Neural Monitoring of an entire Humans Body; manipulated by such evil technologies as Patented Voice-to-(Human)-Skull (the forcement 24/7 of projected noise to a citizen’s head) even to Remote Burns by high powered lasers, or burns by Directed Energy and more.”

Updated at 2:45 p.m. from the press conference in Baton Rouge:

An FBI spokesman said that all resources are being used to investigate to determine if there were any co-conspirators and facilitators who helped Gavin Long and bring them to justice.

Authorities said Long ignored civilians in the area and focused his attention on finding and shooting police officers.

Updated at 2:40 p.m.

Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said the officers were targeted and assassinated. At the press conference he showed surveillance video images of the attack.

The shooter encountered civilians but did not engage. He waited for law enforcement, Edmonson said.

Officials are confident that Gavin Long of Kansas City was the only shooter. Officials showed pictures of two assault-style rifles and a handgun he used in the shootings. Edmonson also said Long drove to Baton Rouge in a Chevrolet Malibu rented in Missouri and that he had been in Baton Rouge for “several days” before the rampage.

Edmonson gave a step-by-step account of the incident and used a map to show Long’s movements and the movements of the officers who were killed and wounded. He first shot two Baton Rouge officers.

One was killed and one was wounded. The wounded officer began crawling away, and a sheriff’s deputy was moving to help that officer when Long shot and killed the deputy.

He then turned his weapon and the wounded officer and fired two shots, killing that officer.

A Baton Rouge police SWAT team officer shot him from about 100 yards away.

Officials said they had no doubt that Long would have tried to kill more officers before he was killed.

Updated at 2:10 p.m.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called the fatal shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge a “diabolical attack on society” and “pure unadulterated evil.”

Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said the officers were targeted and assassinated. At the press conference he showed surveillance video images of the attack.

Officials are confident that Gavin Long of Kansas City was the only shooter. Officials showed pictures of two assault-style rifles and a handgun he used in the shootings. Edmonson also said Long drove to Baton Rouge in a Chevrolet Malibu rented in Missouri.

Updated at 1:58 p.m.

Authorities in Baton Rouge are holding a press conference at 2 p.m. Check back here for updates.

Updated at 1:44 p.m.

In Apri1 2015, Gavin Long contacted a California organization that serves as a support group for people around the world who say military or government officials are electronically tracking and harassing them, known as “targeted individuals.”

Long asked to be put on the group’s “buddy list,” which the group did. But a month later, he deactivated his account without explanation, according to an online post Monday by the group, People Against Covert Torture & Surveillance, International.

Long’s e-mail was listed as a contact for a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit called Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance.

He used the name Cosmo Ausar Setepenra in his correspondence with FFCHS. At the time, he was in West Africa.

FFCHS describes itself as a support group for people marginalized by electronic harassment campaigns, often at the hands of government or law enforcement personnel.

In the group’s January newsletter, it includes what it calls its “buddy list”, a series of regional contacts offering support for those subject to these types of campaigns.

Long’s e-mail, rico717@gmail.com, is listed as the contact for Burkina Faso, a western Africa nation. That same e-mail address is the one Long used in his divorce papers.

Gregory Mann, a Kansas City, North resident, appears as a local contact for FFCHS.

In an interview, Mann said he did not know Long. He denounced Long’s actions in Baton Rouge.

“His actions were wrong,” Mann said. “That has happened to too many targeted individuals.”

Mann described himself as a former Marine and retired budget analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Kansas City. Mann said he became a target of harassment after he filed a complaint about hiring practices at the federal department.

“What we are dealing with is something way beyond what America is used to,” Mann said.

Officials with FFCHS were not immediately available for comment.

Its website takes a conspiratorial tone.

“All U.S. Persons and Others can be used for Human Experimentations; these victim (targets) have become marginalized members of their communities and society in these United States,” the FFCHS website reads. “Marginalized and abused by such U.S. Patents as; Remote Brain experimentation, Remote Neural Monitoring of an entire Humans Body; manipulated by such evil technologies as Patented Voice-to-(Human)-Skull (the forcement 24/7 of projected noise to a citizen’s head) even to Remote Burns by high powered lasers, or burns by Directed Energy and more.”

Updated at 1:10 p.m.

Federal authorities on Monday are examining evidence they collected after they executed a search warrant at a residence in the 8000 block of Campbell Avenue on Sunday in support of the ongoing investigation in Baton Rogue.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to disclose on specific items retrieved, who lived there and how the residence was connected to Long and the police shooting.

“We are still working the investigation and will take what logical steps are needed,” said Bridget Patton, spokeswoman with the FBI in Kansas City.

Updated at 1 p.m.

Gavin Long’s mother, Corine, lived in Grandview in 2000 when she got married to Carl Woodley. Residents on the street listed as the address where they lived said they didn’t know Long or his parents. They said it is a quiet, diverse neighborhood of black and white residents, many who have live there 20 years or more. The Woodleys’ former address is just a few blocks from Grandview Senior High School. Long graduated from there in 2005.

Sean Hanan, who lives across the street from the former Woodley house said his son-in-law went to school with Long but because Long was

older, “he didn’t know him.”

Hanan, who is white, said the neighborhood is home to “skilled, educated and working-class residents, and everybody gets along. It’s a

good neighborhood,” he said. “My thing is that violence is never the answer people are people.”

Updated at 12:20 p.m.

More tensions at 1166 E. 77th Terr., the last known address for Gavin Long. A reporter tweeted at 12:06 p.m., “Man just angrily kicked GMA crew off of Gavin Long family residence in KC. “Do I look like a b** to you?” he shouted.

Updated at 12:08 p.m.

Court records offer a glimpse into Gavin Long’s upbringing in Kansas City, showing a father who was absent and “unkind.”

Long’s parents are identified in public records as Herschel and Corine Long. The couple married in Kansas City on Sept. 28, 1985.

Gavin Long was their only child, born little less than two years after their marriage.

The Longs bought the home at 1166 E. 77th Terrace in 1990. About five years later, Corine Long filed for divorce.

Gavin Long was in the sole custody of his mother when the divorce was finalized in 1998. According to a judgment from that divorce, Herschel Long had “done very little to foster and maintain an affectionate relationship between himself and the child.”

The judgment described how Herschel Long frequently failed to appear for scheduled visits with his son while the divorce was pending, that he hadn’t purchased birthday or Christmas gifts for Gavin Long. It described one instance where Herschel Long picked up his son for a visit and dropped him off at day care at a casino.

“The Father’s conduct toward the child has been unkind and inexcusable and is not in the best interests of the child,” the court filing said. “Gavin very much misses his Father.”

Court records also paint a picture of financial difficulties in Long’s early life. A vehicle listed in the divorce proceedings had been repossessed. A bank account had a nominal balance. Neither parent could afford health insurance for Gavin Long.

Updated at 12:07:

Cosmo Setepenra had a Facebook page called Cosmo Global on which he advertised self-help books he had authored and called himself a nutritionist and spiritual advisor, among other things.

The page says lost over 80 pounds in six months at age 16 after teaching himself about diet and fitness.

The site says he had planned a “Celebrate Your Life Conference” in Phoenix in November and a “Cruise Into Spirit” to the Caribbean in October. The notice claimed that at least 10 of “the most spiritual leaders on the planet” would join the cruise.

Among them were a woman who claims to speak “light languages,” a woman who claims to have medical intuition, and a woman who offers advice on fashion and beauty, parenting and personal growth.

Updated at 10:55 a.m.

Tensions rose Monday morning at what is thought to be the most recent home of Gavin Long, the Kansas City man police say “ambushed” several police officers in Baton Rouge, killing three.

About a half dozen television reporters and photographers — from CNN and local stations — and a Kansas City Star photographer were at the 1166 77th Terrace home that is Long’s last known address when a young man on his cell phone came out on his front lawn. He began yelling, “You have five minutes to clear out or I start shooting.”

He did not show a gun. The news reporters cleared out. On Sunday, a man at the 77th Terrace home showed a gun to a Kansas City Star reporter when saying he would not comment.

Updated at 10:40 a.m.:

Louisiana authorities have officially identified Gavin Long, of Kansas City, as the man suspected of “ambushing” several police officers and killing three on Sunday.

Through a Facebook post, the Louisiana State Police said Long was positively identified just after midnight early Monday morning.

“It was important for us to withhold official confirmation until we had positive ID through investigative means,” the post read. “This was accomplished late last night through fingerprints.”

Autopsies on the three officers were scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Monday. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner was expected to release preliminary findings later in the afternoon.

Long’s autopsy is planned for Tuesday.

Authorities on Monday said Long, a former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition set out to ambush police in Baton Rouge, authorities said Monday, a day after three law enforcement officers were killed in the attack.

The gunman’s “movements, his direction, his attention was on police officers,” state police Col. Mike Edmonson said. He would not elaborate but said the shooter was definitely “seeking out” police.

A 2005 graduate of Grandview High School, Long is from the Kansas City area. He’s thought to have traveled from Kansas City to Dallas and then Baton Rouge. Sunday was his 29th birthday.

Long was a five-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served seven months in Iraq and was discharged in August 2010 with the rank of sergeant, according to Marine Corps records.

He entered the service in August 2005 and completed boot camp in San Diego.

Long then attended infantry school and the Marine Corps Communications Electrical School.

The records show that he was data network specialist in the Marines and served in Okinawa and California.

He was deployed to Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009.

He received the following awards: Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3rd Award); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal.

People from across the country have flooded social media with support for Baton Rouge police. Many call for the violence to stop.

“Prayers to all of Baton Rouge,” read one comment on the police department’s Facebook page. “Another senseless act. Innocent lives taken because of the ignorance of one.”

In Kansas City, federal authorities continue to investigate Long.

Updated at 10 a.m.:

Kansas City police arrested 39-year-old Kamerran Terrell Fryer late Sunday at 1166 E. 77th Terr. — Long’s last known address — on a municipal warrant stemming from a seat belt violation. Fryer was given a signature bond.

Kansas City police said they were unable to confirm any relationship between Fryer and the ongoing federal investigation to the police shootings in Baton Rogue.

Fryer was cited in December for speeding and paid a $98 fine.

A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the bureau’s office in Kansas City is investigating how Long obtained the weapons used in the killings.

John Ham said the Kansas City office is coordinating the investigation with agents in Baton Rouge.

On Monday, he said it was too early to say what investigators had found.

“It’s still very much a fluid part of the investigation,” Ham said.

Updated:

Long was last known to live in Kansas City. Online, he called himself Cosmo Setepenra, and more than a week before he killed three police officers Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., he told a YouTube audience he didn’t want to be associated with organized groups in case anything happened to him.

“I’m affiliated with the spirit of justice: nothing else, nothing more, nothing less,” he said in the clip.

Cosmo Setepenra’s real name was Gavin Eugene Long, and he was from Kansas City. As the nation took in yet another horrific murderous rampage, public records, social media and recollections from former classmates paint a picture of a puzzling personality:

He was a military veteran without a criminal record. He had a robust online presence, where in “Convos with Cosmo” he doled out everything from health tips to advice to help men reach “complete and full masculinity.”

He took up anti-government views, and while he said he didn’t want to be affiliated with any organized groups, he was a member of a bizarre offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement and had been associated with the Nation of Islam. He saw police as part of the government and was outraged by the recent spate of police shootings of black men.

Followers of the sovereign citizen movement believe the government is corrupt and has no jurisdiction over them. Federal authorities consider the movement a domestic terrorist threat, and the movement continues to swell, with violent incidents erupting regularly.

Long declared himself a sovereign in records filed with the Jackson County recorder of deeds last year.

“No doubt at all,” said J.J. MacNab, an author who for two decades has been tracking anti-government extremists. “He’s 100 percent sovereign citizen.”

MacNab said Long fell into the Moorish Sovereign category, more specifically the Washitaw Nation of Mu’urs.

“This group believes that they are indigenous to the continent and therefore above all federal, state and local laws,” said MacNab, who also is a fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. “These documents show Long’s attempt to separate his flesh and blood ‘indigenous’ self from his legal entity self.”

Long filed the document with the Jackson County recorder in May 2015, saying he was with the United Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah Mu’ur Nation, Mid-West Washita Tribes.

The document included a “live claim birth” record in which he changed his name to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra.

A search of his online postings found that Long told a YouTube audience in a video posted July 10 — a few days after the Dallas sniper shooting — that he had traveled to Dallas and was in the city during the attack that killed five officers. He called the incident “justice.”

He opined on how history shows that “100 percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppression, from victims fighting their bullies, 100 percent have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed.”

“Zero have been successful just over simply protesting,” Long told his audience in a calm tone. “It doesn’t. … It has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back.”

A day after the Dallas attacks, Long said that “it’s time for the men to start sacrificing.”

“With the brother killing the police, it’s justice,” he said. “My religion is the religion of justice. ... I was a Christian once, I was a Muslim once, I was all that. But my religion is justice.”

He informed his audiences that the “sacrifices I make and the sacrifices I will make” are dedicated to black women and youth. He referred to the movie “Deacons for Defense,” based on the true story about an armed self-defense group of African-Americans who protected civil rights organizations in the U.S. during the 1960s.

“It’s a time for peace, but it’s a time for war,” he said. “And most of the times when you want peace, you gotta go to war.”

He encouraged “real” and “alpha” individuals who wanted change to move away from protests in order to invoke change.

“It’s only fighting back or money,” Long said. “That’s all they care about. Revenue and blood. Revenue and blood. Revenue and blood.”

Kansas City connections

It was unclear where Long was born or grew up, but he graduated from Grandview High School in 2005 and lived in the 4600 block of Craig Avenue in Grandview. Classmates remembered him as a big, quiet guy who was easy to get along with. He wouldn’t say a lot, but when he did, it was humorous, a friend who graduated with Long said.

The classmates who spoke to The Star asked not to be identified.

The friend remembered Long entered the U.S. Marines after high school and slimmed down. He was discharged after a few years for health reasons, and spent some time in the hospital after a physical injury.

After getting out, Long went off the grid and traveled to Africa, where he spent some time.

“While he was in Africa, he had talked about how he found Islam and he was writing a book,” the classmate said. “He had kind of — I wouldn’t call it gone off the rocker — but it was a little weird.”

Long eventually started advocating that there was some type of government conspiracy, that government was out to get people and people needed to stand up for their rights.

“He had gone full-on anti-government and anti-establishment,” a friend said. “He was definitely not a full-on radical, but he had a different take than a normal person.”

A different classmate said Long had always been a person who defended those who were mistreated.

“He was never about anything negative,” the friend said. “I would say he was man for justice but I would say he stood for what he stood for. He wasn’t scared or embarrassed to say what he believed in.”

The classmate said he was shocked that Long was identified as the gunman.

“I really can’t speak on what his motives were,” the classmate said. “I never would have thought of him doing anything that radical.”

According to military records, Long joined the military right after high school, serving as a Marine from 2005 to 2010 and rising to the rank of sergeant. He served in Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009, and records show he received several medals, including one for good conduct. Long, who received an honorable discharge, was listed as a “data network specialist.”

On his website, Long said he he spent two years in Japan and completed one tour in Iraq while serving in the Marines. When stationed in San Diego, he says, he “became a highly esteemed and sought after nutritionist and personal trainer.”

After the Marines, he attended the University of Alabama for one semester, in the spring of 2012, according to university spokesman Chris Bryant. University police had no interaction with Long during that time, Bryant said.

On his website, Long says he received an associate degree in general studies from Central Texas College, then attended Clark Atlanta University, where he was on the dean’s list.

Records show that he married Aireyona Osha Hill on July 25, 2009, at the Pilgrim Chapel on Gillham Road. Two years later, he filed for divorce. Records suggest the couple did not have children.

Roger Coleman of Pilgrim Chapel said he was one of five people who performed wedding ceremonies for Jackson County each weekend. Coleman said he performed about 10 weddings each week over a 30-year period.

“We could’ve easily done it,” he said. “I’m not aware of any memory about him or the ceremony.”

Sometimes couples were married at the chapel at the historic Pilgrim Wedding Chapel at 3801 Gillham Road either on Friday or Saturday.

A Star reporter on Sunday afternoon knocked on the door of a Kansas City home listed as Long’s last known address, at 1166 E. 77th Terrace. The reporter was met at the door by a man with a gun who declined to comment.

No one was at the home where his ex-wife last lived. Neighbors said the couple had moved out some time ago but occasionally visited the three-story brown-colored house.

Court records also show that a petition was filed against Long on March 17 for delinquent city earnings tax. The summons was served to his mother on June 1, documents show, and the case was dismissed on June 7.

Social media life

On various social media sites affiliated with his website, Long shared and promoted a brand that covered myriad subjects, from sex, health and entertainment to how men and women needed to know and stand up for their rights. He called himself a “freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor.”

More recently, Long had been addressing officer-involved shootings, posting videos about the arrests of African-Americans.

He often referenced a spiritual awakening heightened by a trip to Africa.

After 1  1/2 years at Clark, Long’s website said, he had a “spiritual revelation,” dropped out of college, sold his two cars, gave away his belongings and went to Africa on a spiritual journey.

Several YouTube videos show him approaching people on the street distributing books on detoxing, healing and transformation that he said he wrote in Africa.

On July 12, Long posted a YouTube video of him approaching a group of men in Houston.

He tells the group he used to “party with celebrities” and sleep with women. He then offers more detail about his spiritual revelation. He said he sold all his material possessions and went to Africa, where he fasted, refrained from sex and “wrote three books.” Those books, variations of “The Cosmos Way,” are displayed on his website.

Recent tweets seemed to reference his desire to see a more powerful, unified force combat white power and “elevate” black people.

“Power doesn’t respect weakness. Power only respects Power. # Alton # Castile,” he tweeted on July 7.

He also tweeted:

“Violence is not THE answer (its a answer), but at what point do you stand up so that your people dont become the Native Americans...EXTINCT?” and “Just bc you wake up every morning doesn’t mean that you’re living. And just bc you shed your physical body doesn’t mean that you’re dead.”

The Star’s Mara D. Williams, Steve Vockrodt, Tony Rizzo, Katy Bergen, Ian Cummings, Judy L. Thomas, Robert A. Cronkleton, Glenn E. Rice, Matt Campbell, Katherine Knott and Donna McGuire contributed to this report.

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