He­roes, tears of killer’s

The West Australian - - NEWS - THE KILLER THE VIC­TIMS

Pic­tures: AP, Face­book Ter­ri­fied pa­trons hurled bar stools through win­dows to es­cape or threw their bod­ies pro­tec­tively on top of friends as a US Marines com­bat vet­eran killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try­mu­sic bar in an at­tack that added Thou­sand Oaks to the tragic ros­ter of Amer­i­can cities trau­ma­tised by mass shoot­ings.

Dressed in black with his hood pulled up, the gun­man ap­par­ently took his own life as po­lice massed at the Border­line Bar & Grill in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The killer, Ian David Long was a for­mer ma­chine-gun­ner and Afghanistan war vet­eran who was in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home last spring af­ter an episode of ag­i­tated be­hav­iour that au­thor­i­ties were told might be post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Open­ing fire with a hand­gun with an il­le­gal, ex­tra-large mag­a­zine, the 28 year old shot a se­cu­rity guard out­side, then went in and took aim at em­ploy­ees and pa­trons. He also used a smoke bomb.

Sur­vivors — mostly young peo­ple who had gone out for col­lege night at the Border­line, a hang­out pop­u­lar with stu­dents from nearby Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity — seemed to know what to do, hav­ing come of age in an era of ac­tive-shooter drills and deadly ram­pages.

Sev­eral of the sur­vivors said they were also at the out­door coun­try-mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas last year when a gun­man in a high-rise ho­tel killed 58 peo­ple.

Many of the hun­dreds of pa­trons dived un­der ta­bles, ran for the ex­its, broke through win­dows or hid in the at­tic and bath­rooms.

“Un­for­tu­nately, our young peo­ple, peo­ple at night­clubs, have learned that this may hap­pen and they think about that,” Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said.

“For­tu­nately, it helped save a lot of lives that they fled the scene so rapidly.”

Matt Wen­ner­strom said he pulled peo­ple be­hind a pool ta­ble and he and friends shielded women with their bod­ies af­ter hear­ing the shots.

He said that when the gun­man paused to reload, he used a bar stool to shat­ter a win­dow and help about 30 peo­ple es­cape.

He heard an­other vol­ley of shots af­ter they got out.

“All I wanted to do was get as many peo­ple out of there as pos­si­ble,” Mr Wen­ner­strom told KABC-TV.

“I know where I’m go­ing if I die, so I was not wor­ried.”

The dead in­cluded a vet­eran sher­iff’s deputy who rushed in to con­front the gun­man, as well

as 22-year-old man who planned to join the army, a fresh­man at nearby Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­sity and a re­cent Cal Lutheran grad­u­ate.

The tragedy left a com­mu­nity that is an­nu­ally listed as one of the safest cities in Amer­ica reel­ing. Scores of peo­ple showed up to do­nate blood for the wounded.

All morn­ing, peo­ple look­ing for miss­ing friends and rel­a­tives ar­rived at a com­mu­nity cen­tre

Pic­ture: McClatchy Tri­bune

Peo­ple gather at the vigil.

Ian David Long last year.

Sgt Ron Helus

Noel Sparks

Telemachus Or­fanos

Blake Dinghma

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