US blood­bath

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - INTERNATIONAL -

CAL­I­FOR­NIA, USA (AP) — Us­ing a smoke bomb and a hand­gun, a hooded Marine com­bat vet­eran dressed all in black opened fire dur­ing col­lege night at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, killing 12 peo­ple and send­ing hun­dreds flee­ing in panic be­fore ap­par­ently tak­ing his own life, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day.

Au­thor­i­ties said the mo­tive for the at­tack Wed­nes­day night was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The killer was iden­ti­fied as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a for­mer ma­chine gun­ner and dec­o­rated vet­eran of the war in Afghanistan who was in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home last spring after an episode of ag­i­tated be­hav­iour that they were told might be post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Scream­ing in fear, pa­trons rushed for the ex­its, ducked un­der ta­bles and hurled barstools to smash sec­ond-floor win­dows and jump to safety as gun­fire erupted at the Border­line Bar & Grill, a hang­out pop­u­lar with stu­dents from nearby Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity.

“I dropped to the floor,” Sarah Rose Deson told ABC’S Good Morn­ing Amer­ica. ‘’A friend yelled, ‘Ev­ery­body down!’ We were hid­ing be­hind ta­bles try­ing to keep our­selves cov­ered.”

The dead in­cluded 11 peo­ple in­side the bar and a vet­eran sher­iff’s sergeant who was the first of­fi­cer in­side the door, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said.

“It’s a hor­rific scene in there,” Dean said in the park­ing lot. “There’s blood every­where.”

The blood­shed was the lat­est in what seems to be a never-end­ing string of mass shoot­ings that are hap­pen­ing with ter­ri­fy­ing fre­quency across the United States.

It was the na­tion’s dead­li­est such at­tack since 17 stu­dents and teach­ers were killed at a Park­land, Florida, high school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gun­man massacred 11 peo­ple at a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump praised po­lice for their “great brav­ery” in the Cal­i­for­nia at­tack and said, “God bless all of the vic­tims and fam­i­lies of the vic­tims.” He or­dered flags flown at half-staff in hon­our of the vic­tims.

Long was armed with a Glock 21, .45-cal­i­bre, de­signed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the cham­ber, ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff. But it had an ex­tended magazine — one ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more am­mu­ni­tion — that is il­le­gal in Cal­i­for­nia, Dean said.

The killer also de­ployed a smoke de­vice, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press. The of­fi­cial was not au­tho­rised to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Au­thor­i­ties un­der­took a search of Long’s home in New­bury Park, about 5 miles from the Border­line bar, for clues to what set him off.

“There’s no in­di­ca­tion that he tar­geted the em­ploy­ees. We haven’t found any cor­re­la­tion,” the sher­iff said. “Maybe there was a mo­tive for this par­tic­u­lar night, but we have no in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to that at all.”

The Marine Corps said Long served from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of cor­po­ral and was sent to Afghanistan in 2010-11, re­ceiv­ing sev­eral medals and com­men­da­tions.

Au­thor­i­ties said he had no crim­i­nal record, but Dean said of­fi­cers were called to his home in April, when deputies found him an­gry and act­ing ir­ra­tionally. The sher­iff said of­fi­cers were told he might have PTSD be­cause of his mil­i­tary ser­vice. A men­tal health spe­cial­ist met with him and didn’t feel he needed to be hos­pi­talised.

Tom Han­son, 70, who lives next door to Long and his mother, said Wed­nes­day that he called the po­lice about six months ago when he heard “heavy-duty bang­ing” and shout­ing com­ing from the Longs’ home.

“I was con­cerned be­cause I knew he had been in the mil­i­tary,” he said.

Han­son said the sher­iff’s deputy who ar­rived took his in­for­ma­tion, but he never learned more about what hap­pened and hadn’t spo­ken to Long since then. He said he was “dumb­founded” by the blood­shed.

The gun­man was tall and wear­ing all black with a hood and his face partly cov­ered, wit­nesses told TV sta­tions. He first shot a se­cu­rity guard stand­ing out­side, then went in and opened fire on staff mem­bers and pa­trons, the sher­iff said.

Sher­iff’s Sgt Ron Helus and a pass­ing high­way pa­trol­man ar­rived at the Border­line around 11:20 pm in re­sponse to sev­eral 911 calls, heard gun­fire and went in­side, the sher­iff said.

FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rive at the home of sus­pected night­club shooter Ian David Long in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia. 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. The sus­pect, who was armed with a .45-cal­i­bre hand­gun, was found dead at the Border­line Bar and Grill, the scene of the shoot­ing in the city of Thou­sand Oaks north-west of down­town Los An­ge­les.

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