Crime

Six things to know about Kansas City’s Gavin Eugene Long, aka ‘Cosmo Setepenra,’ accused Baton Rouge police killer

A screen grab from a YouTube video posted by Gavin Long who also goes by Cosmo Setepenra.
A screen grab from a YouTube video posted by Gavin Long who also goes by Cosmo Setepenra.

Gavin Eugene Long, of Kansas City, has been identified as the man who killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge Sunday before dying in a shootout.

Here are six things you should know about Long:

1. Long’s roots in the Kansas City area go back to his youth.

Gavin Long graduated from Grandview High School in 2005. He married Aireyona Osha Hill here in 2009 and filed for divorce in 2011.

2. Long appears to have been aligned with a “sovereign citizen” ideology whose followers believe the government is corrupt and out of control and has no jurisdiction over them. While typically associated with white groups, the movement has increasingly been adopted by minorities.

3. Online, Long apparently adopted the identity of Cosmo Setepenra.

As Setepenra, he billed himself as a life coach, publishing books, blogs, podcasts and videos espousing a variety of beliefs about recent police shootings, race, relationships, fitness and spirituality. Many of his blog posts and other writings focused on masculinity.

4. In recent months, Long expressed anger about police shootings of black men but insisted he was not affiliated with any group.

As Setepenra, he tweeted specifically about the July 5 fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by a Baton Rouge police officer and the July 7 killings of five Dallas police officers, as well as racism in the U.S.

Recent tweets seemed to indicate his desire to see a more powerful, unified force combat white power and “elevate” black people, and increasingly referenced violence and death. In a video, he proclaimed, “I am not affiliated with anyone.”

5. Long was a Marine and served in Iraq.

Long joined the Marines in 2005 and served until 2010, according to military records obtained by the Associated Press. He rose to the rank of sergeant and served in Iraq from June 2008 to January 2009. Records show he received several medals, including one for good conduct. Long received an honorable discharge and was listed as a “data network specialist.”

6. By his own account, Long traveled widely in the U.S. and abroad.

In his writings, Long tells of attending college in Texas and Atlanta. Long wrote that he sold or gave away his possessions and traveled to Africa, passing through Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana and Burkina Faso. He claimed to have visited 30 U.S. states as well as the Bahamas, Korea, Thailand and the Maldives.

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