Baton Rouge Officer Clinging to Life after Ambush: 'He Is Not in Good Shape at All'

"He definitely ambushed officers," a police spokesman said

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One of the two police officers injured in Sunday’s fatal attack on Baton Rouge police is in “very, very critical condition,” Baton Rogue Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Monday.

Speaking of Deputy Nicholas Tullier, 41, Gautreaux said at a news conference, “His vitals have gone up and down, that is all I can say.

“At this point, we are just praying for him. It is in God’s hands. He is not in good shape at all.”

Gautreaux said head trauma is the biggest concern of both surgeons who worked on Tullier, an 18-year veteran, according to NOLA.com.

The other injured deputy, 51-year-old Brent Simmons, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, authorities have said. But Gautreaux said Simmons “is going into his second surgery today.”

“He now has a titanium rod in his arm,” Gautreaux said.

The Fallen Officers: ‘These Were Good Men’

During the news conference, officials praised the officers who responded Sunday to calls of a suspicious person with a rifle on Airline Highway.

When those officers arrived, a shooter, later identified as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long, opened fire on them, authorities have said.

“The actions of the officers in the Baton Rouge community were nothing short of heroic,” Louisiana Gov. Jon Bell Edwards said. “They ran towards danger to protect the public. They ran towards danger to render aid to other officers.”

He added, “These were good men. We all know the story but it bears repeating now. No greater love hath any man than to lay down his life for another.”

Gautreaux said one of the fallen officers, deputy Brad Garafola, 45, rushed to help a an officer who had been shot when the shooter engaged him in gunfire.

“My deputy went down fighting,” Gautreaux said, adding that when Garafola was fatally shot, “He was laying down in a prone position, and he was firing.”

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie lauded the two Baton Rouge officers fatally shot in the attack.

He described officer Matthew Gerald, 41, as “a devoted husband and father of two” who served in two branches of the military and served three tours in Iraq.

“His sense of service drew him to the force,” Dabadie said of the rookie. “He is a hero for everything he has done.”

Dabadie described officer Montrell Jackson, 32, a 10-year veteran and married father of a 4-month-old son, as “a loving and devoted husband.”

Dabadie read a statement from Jackson’s wife, Trenisha Jackson, which read, in part:

“He loved his family and he loved his fellow officers. He loved his job and his city. Knowing this gives me a measure of peace and comfort. He died doing what he loved – protecting and serving a city that he loved.”

Shooter ‘Definitely Ambushed’ Officers

Officials said during the news conference that the shooting was a pre-meditated attack targeting law enforcement.

“Our preliminary investigation shows that he definitely ambushed those officers,” Louisiana State Police spokesman J.B. Slaton said. “We are still trying to find out what his motive was, and that’s going to be part of our investigation. But we believe he was targeting those officers.”

The shooter was a former Marine who maintained an active online persona under the pseudonym “Cosmo Setepenra.” On a website called “Convos with Cosmo,” as well as social media accounts and YouTube videos, he spoke about injustices toward black people and his belief in the need for violent retaliation.

In a recent YouTube video, posted July 10, he praised the killing of the Dallas officers and said, “It’s justice.”

Dabadie said he believes the shooter would have kept killing had he not been killed himself.

“This guy was going to another location and he was not going to stop here. I have no doubt he was heading to [police] headquarters,” he said.

(The shooting took place less than 1 mile from police headquarters.)

The shooter was killed by a SWAT team sniper from 100 yards away, authorities said.

“The shot our SWAT team made was a hell of a shot,” Dabadie said.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden said that authorities believe the shooter was in the city for several nights before the attack.

“So we’re finding out somebody that was methodical and planning and really an outright murderer,” he said.

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