Bar gun­man ‘stopped’ mid-at­tack to post on­line

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

>> THOU­SAND OAKS: Au­thor­i­ties try­ing to make sense of why a gun­man killed 12 peo­ple at a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia bar are not pub­licly dis­cussing what they’ve learned, but at least one In­sta­gram post he made af­ter be­gin­ning the mas­sacre has emerged as an early fo­cus.

So­cial me­dia plat­forms have scrubbed all posts fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s mas­sacre. But one law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said Ian David Long, a 28-year-old for­mer Ma­rine, posted about his men­tal state and whether peo­ple would be­lieve he was sane.

Au­thor­i­ties were also in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether he be­lieved his ex-girl­friend would be at the Border­line Bar and Grill, said the of­fi­cial, who was briefed on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion but not au­tho­rised to dis­cuss it.

A sec­ond law en­force­ment of­fi­cial, Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Capt Garo Kured­jian, said that — based on time stamps — the gun­man ap­par­ently stopped shoot­ing in­side the bar and posted to In­sta­gram. Mr Kured­jian said he didn’t know the con­tent of any posts. In­sta­gram and Face­book typ­i­cally refuse to dis­cuss in­di­vid­ual ac­counts and did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Au­thor­i­ties de­scribed an at­tack of mil­i­tary ef­fi­ciency. None of those in­jured were hurt by gun­fire. When the gun­man shot his .45-cal­iber pis­tol, he killed. As scores of po­lice of­fi­cers closed in, Long ap­par­ently shot and killed him­self.

Sev­eral peo­ple who knew Long in the sub­urb of Thou­sand Oaks where he went to high school and even­tu­ally moved back in with his mother de­scribed him in dis­turb­ing terms.

Long made oth­ers feel un­com­fort­able go­ing back to his teens.

Do­minique Colell, who coached girls’ track and field at the high school where Long was a sprinter, re­mem­bers an an­gry young man who could be ver­bally and phys­i­cally com­bat­ive.

In one in­stance, Ms Colell said Long used his fin­gers to mimic shoot­ing her in the back of the head as she talked to an­other ath­lete. In an­other, he grabbed her rear and mid­sec­tion af­ter she re­fused to re­turn a cell­phone he said was his.

“I lit­er­ally feared for my­self around him,’’ Ms Colell said in an in­ter­view on Fri­day. “He was the only ath­lete that I was scared of.’’

Ms Colell said she wanted to kick Long off the team, but the boy’s coach urged her to re­con­sider be­cause that could com­pro­mise his goal of join­ing the Marines. She re­lented when, at the next track meet, Long apol­o­gised in front of sev­eral coaches and ad­min­is­tra­tors.

At­tempts to get com­ment by phone and in per­son from of­fi­cials at New­bury Park High School and its school district were un­suc­cess­ful. Both were closed be­cause of a de­struc­tive wild­fire in the area.

As in­ves­ti­ga­tors worked to fig­ure out what set him off, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blamed men­tal ill­ness, de­scrib­ing the gun­man as “a very sick puppy’’ who had “a lot of prob­lems’’. At the White House on Fri­day, Mr Trump touted his ef­forts to fund work on post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der among vet­er­ans and ig­nored ques­tions about stricter gun con­trol laws.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have not com­mented on whether men­tal ill­ness played a role in the ram­page. But a men­tal health spe­cial­ist who as­sessed Long af­ter sher­iff’s deputies re­sponded to a call about his ag­i­tated be­hav­iour last spring wor­ried he might be suf­fer­ing from PTSD.

TROU­BLING AT­TACK: FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors work near the scene of Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks.

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