Who Was Matthew Gerald? The Baton Rouge Police Officer Had Only Just Begun To Serve

Three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were killed in the line of duty Sunday morning, one of whom was a former Marine and a father of two. Matthew Gerald, a Baton Rouge police officer who was killed was a married father of two young daughters, and he was no stranger to service.

According to reporting from WAFB 9, Gerald was originally from Denham Springs, Louisiana, a small town of just over 10,000 inhabitants just east of Baton Rouge. A former Marine, he reportedly also served as a Black Hawk Crew Chief while serving in the Army. He had only recently joined the force. According to a social media posting from his wife, Gerald's first day on patrol alone was on July 5, less than two weeks before his untimely death. The station is also reporting that Gerald graduated just this past March from the BRPD academy.

The 41 year old veteran leaves behind a wife, Dechia Badeaux Gerald, and two young daughters, according to social media postings. According to Facebook, Badeaux Gerald is a former elementary school special education teacher from Brusly, LA, a town to the southwest of Baton Rouge, who will be starting a position at an area high school soon.

Tributes and condolences have already come flooding in on public social media profiles. "Praying for you, your precious girls, and your entire family! My heart is breaking! Please let me know if I can help in any way!" wrote Ann Thibodeaux Stelly in response to Badeaux Gerald's changing of her Facebook profile photo to a picture of a black and white American flag with a solitary blue stripe running through the middle of the flag. Missy Hunt added "Lots and lots of prayers for you and the girls!!! He was the definition of a hero!"

Gerald will clearly be sorely missed by his family, friends, and community. Information about funeral arangements and memorial servieces have not been made public yet.