Friday Nov 09, 2018
THOUSAND OAKS: The gunman who killed 12 people in a crowded California country music bar has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine, the local sheriff said Thursday.
Long, who was armed with a single handgun, a .45-calibre Glock 21, which he purchased legally, was found deceased at the Borderline Bar and Grill, the scene of the shooting in the city of Thousand Oaks northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
"We believe he shot himself," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
"We have had several contacts with Mr. Long over the years, minor events, a traffic collision," Dean told a news conference, adding that there was another one in 2015 when he was beaten up at a local bar.
Deputies were called to Long's house in response to a disturbance in April this year and "felt he might be suffering from PTSD, the fact he was a veteran and had been in the corps", he said.
Long was "somewhat irate. Acting a little irrationally," he said. However, "our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists who met with him, talked to him, and cleared him".
Investigators have not established a motive for the shooting or an indication of any connection to terrorism and knew of nothing that connected Long to the Borderline Bar and Grill.
"We have no idea what the motive was at this time," Dean said, adding that Long was veteran who had served in the Marine Corps.
"Obviously, he had something going on in his head that caused him to do something like this," he said. "He had some kind of issues."
According to the Pentagon, Long served in the Marine Corps from August 2008 to March 2013 and was a machine gunner. He attained the rank of corporal and saw combat while deployed in Afghanistan from November 2010 to June 2011.
"He had perfect form," bar patron Teylor Whittler told Fox News. "He looked like he knew what he was doing."
Terrified patrons scrambled for the exits after the gunman started shooting a handgun in the Borderline Bar and Grill around 11:20 PM on Wednesday before killing himself, they said.
"They ran out of the back doors, they broke windows. They went through windows. They hid up in the attic, they hid in the bathroom," Dean said, describing the scene as "like hell".
The sheriff said Long drove to the bar and shot an unarmed security guard who was standing outside before opening fire at random inside. Around 15 people, including several who were hurt "jumping out of windows, diving under tables", were also injured, he added.
Matt Wennerstron, a 20-year-old college student, said the shooter apparently had a 10-15-round magazine on his gun. "When (he) started to reload, that's when we got people out of there and I didn't look back," he said.
TV footage showed SWAT teams surrounding the bar, with distraught revellers milling around and using their cell phones as lights from police cars flashed.
President Donald Trump tweeted that he had "been fully briefed on the terrible shooting", the latest chapter in America's epidemic of gun violence that came just 10 days after a gunman killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
"13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar … California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times.
"That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.
Trump also ordered the US flag at the White House and other government buildings to be flown at half-staff.
Last year, a country music festival in Las Vegas was the scene of the worst mass shooting in modern US history. A gunman shooting from the 32nd floor of a hotel and casino with high power weapons killed 58 people.