Before he became known as the Baton Rouge cop killer, Gavin Eugene Long tried to get help from the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to his mother.
Corine Woodley, of Kansas City, told national talk show host Tavis Smiley that her son needed help after he left the Marines in 2010. She told Smiley that she advised her son to get help from the VA, according to a story Thursday in USA Today.
She said he told her, “They didn't want to help me.” Long reportedly also told his mother: “They only help people at the top, the 1 percent.”
Long was in Baton Rouge, La., for several days before he hunted down and killed three officers Sunday morning and wounded three others. Authorities say his actions appeared methodical and planned as he sought out police officers to shoot around a cluster of businesses in central Baton Rouge.
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Before he arrived in Baton Rouge, he traveled through Dallas and Houston preaching and peddling his self-published, self-help books inside black barbershops and urban neighborhoods.
The man who adopted the identity “Cosmo Setepenra” in recent years reportedly told friends and family he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report on CNN. Long served in the Marines five years and rose to the rank of sergeant. He was a data network specialist.
Raised in Kansas City and a graduate of Grandview High School, Long had changed by the time he left the military, one of his close friends told The Star.
And in the hour or two before the shooting, he called family members. Among the things he told them, according to a friend who spoke to The Star, was something about his times in the Marines.
“He told his cousin, some things happened in the military that he can't tell nobody about,” said Felix Omoruyi of Dallas, who met Long during middle school in Grandview and remained close. The two friends hung out on July 8 when Long arrived in Dallas.
Omoruyi said he knew his friend was angry about the recent shootings of black men by police and that Long watched the shooting of Alton Sterling over and over on a big-screen television. But he said he couldn’t have imagined what Long would do nine days later.