The Latest: Corporal recalls moments before officer slaying

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on funerals in Baton Rouge for three law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on Sunday (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald was remembered by a colleague as devoted and passionate about his job.

Cpl. Lester Mitchell began riding with Gerald on July 1. Days later, Baton Rouge was shaken by the controversial shooting of a black man named Alton Sterling.

Neither Mitchell nor Gerald was involved in the shooting, but they talked about what a strain the incident had put on the community and its relations with police.

Mitchell and Gerald were working together Sunday, when Gerald decided to head to the B-Quick convenience store to get an energy drink. Mitchell stayed behind.

When Gerald reached the store, someone reported to him that a gunman was in the area. Gerald radioed back to dispatch, which sent Mitchell and other officers racing over. They heard gunfire as they arrived on the scene.

Gerald was one of three law enforcement officers who was shot to death. His funeral is Friday in Baton Rouge.


9:20 a.m.

Hundreds of mourners began gathering at the church where funeral services were about to begin for slain Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald.

The 41-year-old Gerald was one of three law enforcement officers gunned down in the line of duty Sunday. They were shot in an ambush by a lone gunman who was later killed.

Dozens of American flags were planted in the grass outside the Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge.

Capt. Tom Cox of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee was among those in attendance. He says he plans to attend not only Gerald’s funeral but those of 32-year-old Montrell Jackson and 45-year-old East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brad Garafola in the coming days.

Cox also recently attended the funerals of police officers slain in Dallas and New York.

Cox said: “It’s numbing … this many in such a short period of time.”


The final goodbyes are set for three slain police officers in Baton Rouge.

A Friday morning funeral is set for military veteran-turned-cop Matthew Gerald of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Local sheriff’s deputy Brad Garafola’s (gar-ah-FOE’-lah) will be remembered at a Saturday funeral. The funeral for another Baton Rouge Police Department officer, Montrell Jackson, is set for Monday.

The three were gunned down Sunday in an ambush by a lone gunman who was later killed.

Gerald’s funeral follows a Thursday evening visitation. He had served four years in the Marines and seven years in the Army before he became a police officer earlier this year.

A Texas company designed and donated caskets for the ceremonies. Company owner Trey Ganem said Gerald’s reflects his military background and his family.