Baton Rouge Shooting: The Three Deceased Are Identified As Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald, And Brad Garafola
The names of the three Baton Rouge police officers who were murdered on Sunday have been released to the media, along with details about their families. The three officers are Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald, and Brad Garafola. The names were released to the media in that order according to the Associated Press. Sheriff deputy Brad Garafola‘s name was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office at 7:55 p.m. local (Central) time. All three of the deceased were fathers.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) July 18, 2016
Brad Garafola, the third shooting victim who was identified as one of the deceased, was 45 years old. He had been with the sheriff’s office for 24 years. The Advocate reported that Garafola was a father of four. His wife, Tonja Garafola, told media that he was killed during what was tragically to be his last shift before a well-deserved vacation that was to begin on Monday. Their four children include a 21-year-old son who lives in Texas, a 15-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son, and a 7-year-old daughter. His wife also referred to him as a “jack of all trades.”
“He was a great guy. Not just a great law enforcement [sic], he was a great husband and a great father. He didn’t deserve this. He always helped everybody.”
Matthew Gerald, a Baton Rouge police department officer, was 41 years old. According to People, Gerald served in the marines and was also a former Black Hawk crew chief in the US Army. Matthew Gerald is described as a rookie who just graduated from the Police Academy this past March. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 18, 2016
We have the most information about the first deceased Baton Rouge police officer to be identified, Montrell Jackson, 32. Jackson recently responded to this summer’s rise in racial tension between police officers and the public — and the questionably related murders of five police officers in Dallas, Texas on July 7 by a man that The Daily Beast discovered had a connection to a very small fringe group — with a heartfelt and eloquent Facebook post.
Montrell Jackson’s message is not publicly available to view on his Facebook page, but a screenshot of the message has gone viral in the wake of his death. Numerous family members and friends have verified the message as having been written and posted by Montrell Jackson. It is dated July 8, the day after the shootings in Dallas.
Montrell Jackson, an officer killed in #BatonRouge, posted this msg last week. Heartbreaking. RIP.
— Andscape (@andscape) July 17, 2016
Montrell Jackson leaves behind a wife and a 4-month-old baby boy named Mason, born in March. His father-in-law generously spoke with reporters on the front lawn of Montrell Jackson’s home in Livingston Parish, and referred to his late son-in-law as a “gentle giant.” He may have seemed intimidating due to his height, but his father-in-law said he was “always about peace.” Despite working long hours due to Black Lives Matter protests in the area, his father-in-law said the strain never showed.
Kendrick Pitts, Montrell Jackson’s 24-year-old half-brother, also spoke generously to media. The two brothers were very close, Pitt said, and Jackson “went above and beyond” the call of duty to be “a protector.” Pitts also said that his late brother joined the force in 2006, and served faithfully these ten years, rising to the rank of corporal. Pitts said his hardworking brother often worked seven days a week, and was dedicated to “God, family and the police force.”
Two additional Baton Rouge police officers were wounded in Sunday’s shooting. Both are sheriff’s deputies. 51-year-old Bruce Simmons, a 23-year veteran of the police force, sustained non-life threatening injuries. Sadly, the other injured officer, 41-year-old Nicholas Tullier, is in critical condition. Tullier is an 18-year veteran of the police force.
[AP Photo/Gerald Herbert]