San Diego Officials, Faith Leaders Gather In Support Of Law Enforcement
Baton Rouge shooter has San Diego ties
San Diego leaders have gathered and Balboa Park to show support for local law enforcement. The rally comes after the second ambush in two weeks. Three officers lost their lives when a man opened fire in Baton Rouge, yesterday, all while the nation is still morning five officers killed and a sniper attack in Dallas on July 7. Local leaders including Mayor Kevin Faulconer have gathered and what's being called an event to stand together and support law enforcement. Steve Walsh is at the scene. Steve welcome to the show. I am here and the event is just breaking up. It went on for about a half an hour at the fountain. It was billed as a chance for law enforcement, elected officials and a group of ministers to urge calm in the community. Which local leaders were at this rally? We had Mayor Kevin Faulconer, by some members of the city Council, one of the speakers was that every police chief from San Diego County was here. Anything memorable that was said? It just seems like we've been through this so many times. It's hard for anything to be new. We had Mayor Faulconer saying we cannot retreat into our corners, we have to heal and not take not hate. Every attack is the crack in that thin blue line. We need our police force now more than ever. Chiefs Zimmerman, she tends to be rather controlled. She was rather the hum it -- vehement. That's kind of summing up. Speaking of the ambush against officers in Baton Rouge, sadly there does seem to be a San Diego connection. The shooter lived here once. There are connections here. Gavin Long was a former Marine. He was in the Marines from 2005 until 2010. He was deployed for six months in Iraq, he was a sergeant here. He was at Pendleton and at Miramar. There's a report out that he has a marriage license. Any mention of that in connection to today's remarks? Not that I was able to determine. This was mostly talking about that relationship that people have with law enforcement and the responsibility that law enforcement has to reach out to the community. This is something that, yeses happened over the weekend, it's a horrible tragedy. It follows up on Dallas, where we had another tragedy. It follows up on the string of protest that have gone on throughout the country, when we've seen videotape of these officer involved shootings that have created such angst and such concern. It seems in many ways, like something we have seen so many times before. There is one dignitary invited to the stand, who publicly would declined, Bishop Cornelius Bowser of the charity apostolic church, he issued a press release as to why he didn't attend. What were his reasons? I did have a chance to talk to him briefly. What he says, basically he believes the Mayor is talking the talk but he is not walked the walk. He is not been in support of many of the vigils that have been held in San Diego, regarding officer involved shootings. The Mayor came out very quickly against sorts of things that would make lasting change. He didn't feel inclined to attend this, half profit -- press conference, half visual. We did not get a chance to talk to the Mayor. We may get a chance before he steps out. There are still people milling around. We may get a chance to ask the mayor. I appreciate all of the information. KPBS reporter, Steve Walsh, thank you.
Elected officials, peace officers and faith leaders from throughout the San Diego area gathered at Balboa Park Monday to reaffirm their support for the law enforcement professionals who strive daily to keep the public safe.
The communal call for unity came a day after a man with ties to San Diego fatally shot three officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"There is no doubt that our nation is hurting," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told the crowd. "The recent string of unjustifiable deaths cuts all of us deeply. From Dallas to Baton Rouge and (other cities), this loss of innocent lives has left all of us raw."
Bishop Cornelius Bowser, who is known for hosting vigils for local victims of violent crime, declined to attend Monday's rally, saying Faulconer had overlooked vigils, marches and other demonstrations held in response to violence in the city.
He said the event seemed hollow — officers and elected officials calling for unity, when they have not shown similar interest in tackling incidents of police violence.
“There is not going to be any real unity or peace, especially among people who are black or brown," Bowser said. "When they see this, it’s just going to outrage them because they know what’s going on in the community. So if we’re going to be serious about this, we’re going to begin with some serious dialog and begin with some serious actions.”
"I stand with law enforcement every day, working with them to support victims of violence and their families," Bowser said. "However, I will not let Mayor Faulconer use me as a pawn for his political agenda during this time of tragedy."
In the wake of the latest attack on peace officers, members of the local law enforcement community took to social media to express condolences. In a prepared statement, the Chula Vista Police Department announced that its sworn personnel would wear black mourning bands and that its flags would be flown at half staff "to honor those peace officers who paid with their lives."
"Sadly, our society of freedom and liberty do not come without a cost," CVPD officials stated. "We grieve with our fellow peace officers across the nation after another fatal attack in Louisiana."
Baton Rouge shooter Gavin Long, who was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police, listed a San Diego address with a 92108 ZIP code on a marriage license application filed in 2009 in Jackson County, Missouri.
Long, 29, was a former Marine sergeant whose five-year stint included basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, followed by the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton. He went on to train in Twentynine Palms and served with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan, before being stationed at MCAS Miramar, where he was attached to Marine Aircraft Group 38, 3rd Marine Air Wing, according to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Long's duty with the Marine Corps included a deployment to Iraq in 2008.