BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Brad Garafola, one of three law enforcement officers shot and killed by a lone gunman in an ambush, went down fighting, returning fire to the very end.
Garafola, a 45-year-old East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy, will be laid to rest Saturday, one day after hundreds of people turned out for a funeral service for Baton Rouge police Officer Matthew Gerald, 41. Funeral services for the third officer slain, 32-year-old Montrell Jackson, are slated for Monday. A multi-agency memorial service for the officers is scheduled for Thursday.
The three men were shot and killed by 29-year-old gunman Gavin Long; three other officers were also wounded in the shooting. Long was killed by police.
The shootings came at a time of racial tension in the city and country after a black man was shot and killed during a confrontation with two white police officers outside a convenience store. The next day a black man in Minnesota was shot and killed by police, and his girlfriend livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook. The day after that, a black gunman in Dallas opened fire during a protest against the Minnesota and Baton Rouge shootings, and killed five police officers.
Garafola's boss, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, described to reporters how he could see Garafola on surveillance video, firing at the gunman as bullets hit the concrete around him.
"My deputy went down fighting. He returned fire to the very end," the sheriff said.
Garafola's friends described him as a man committed to public service and devoted to his family.
He leaves behind a wife and four children: a 21-year-old son, a 15-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.