(CNN) — Four days after the police-involved shooting of Alton Sterling turned his city upside down, sending ripple effects nationwide, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Police officer Montrell Jackson issued a plea to the embattled community and vowed to do his part to help it heal.
“These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better,” the officer wrote in a July 8 Facebook post.
And, to all the protesters, officers, friends, family and neighbors in need of a hug or a prayer, he offered a promise: “I got you.”
One week later, on Sunday, Jackson’s life was cut short in a shootout that left three officers dead and three more injured, law enforcement said.
Jackson’s aunt revealed his identity to CNN, simply saying “Today isn’t going too well.”
The other deceased victims have been identified as another officer and a sheriff’s deputy.
‘Hate Takes Too Much Energy’
To those who shared Jackson’s Facebook post after it surfaced on social media, the missive spoke volumes about his character.
It also offered rare, candid insight into the impact of Sterling’s death on officers in the community.
“I’m tired physically and emotionally,” the post starts, “Disappointed in some family, friends, and officers for some reckless comments but hey, what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate it takes too much energy, but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same.”
Kristi Vick, Godal, Jackson’s neighbor, told NBC News that Jackson was pained by the events surrounding Sterling’s death, including the protests that followed.
“He loved his city,” Godal said. “It is an absolute tragedy. He was a police officer but he was also a proud black man.”
Jackson described the tension between his identity as a police officer and as a black man.
“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat,” he wrote.
“I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t know you at all,” he wrote.
To anyone who doubted his integrity he made one request: “Look at my actions, they speak LOUD and CLEAR.”