On night of bar at­tack, gun­man wrote of insanity

Centre Daily Times - - News / Obituaries - BY JAMES QUEALLY, RICHARD WIN­TON AND MATT HAMIL­TON

LOS AN­GE­LES

The ex-Ma­rine who gunned down 12 peo­ple dur­ing a mass shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks on Wed­nes­day night was ap­par­ently post­ing to so­cial me­dia ei­ther dur­ing or right be­fore he car­ried out the at­tacks, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said.

Ian David Long pub­lished mes­sages or pic­tures to In­sta­gram around the same time gun­fire erupted in­side the Border­line Bar and Grill on Wed­nes­day night, ac­cord­ing to two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity in or­der to dis­cuss the case can­didly.

In the posts, Long wrote that he hoped peo­ple would re­fer to him as “in­sane” af­ter the shoot­ings, and openly mocked the “thoughts and prayers” that are of­fered in pub­lic state­ments and on so­cial me­dia af­ter mass shoot­ings, ac­cord­ing to one of the of­fi­cials.

The post­ings have since been scrubbed from In­sta­gram and Face­book, the of­fi­cials said.

Capt. Garo Kured­jian, a Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s De­part­ment spokesman, said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were aware of In­sta­gram posts Long made the night of the shoot­ing. Kured­jian said he had viewed the post­ings but de­clined to de­scribe them.

Long en­tered the bar, which was host­ing a weekly pro­mo­tion pop­u­lar with area col­lege stu­dents, around 11:20 p.m. and be­gan shoot­ing at peo­ple near the front door, ac­cord­ing to Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean.

Within min­utes, Sgt. Ron Helus and a Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cer en­tered the bar and en­gaged in a fire­fight with Long, who was armed with a semi­au­to­matic pis­tol.

Helus was shot sev­eral times and died at an area hos­pi­tal hours later. Long was found dead of a gun­shot wound in the back of the bar, though it re­mains un­clear if he took his own life or died af­ter be­ing shot by po­lice.

The other 11 vic­tims, most of whom have been iden­ti­fied by rel­a­tives or so­cial me­dia posts, are: Sean Adler, 48, Cody Coff­man, 22, Blake Ding­man, 21, Jake Dun­ham, 21, Alaina Hous­ley, 18, Dan Man­rique, 33, Justin Meek, 23, Kristina Morisette, 20, Mark Meza Jr., 20, Telemachus Or­fanos, 27, and Noel Sparks, 21.

A mo­tive for the slaugh­ter re­mains un­clear. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have searched Long’s home and scoured his on­line writ­ings, said Kured­jian, who warned that find­ing an­swers could take time. The crime scene alone could take sev­eral days to process, he said.

“If there is a mo­tive, we can per­haps prevent some­thing like this hap­pen­ing in the fu­ture,” Kured­jian said. “We owe it to the fam­i­lies that need an an­swer. We owe it to our sergeant’s fam­ily.”

While the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials told the Los An­ge­les Times it did not ap­pear Long had any con­nec­tion to known for­eign or do­mes­tic ter­ror or hate groups.

Peo­ple who had lived with or knew Long said the gun­man had prob­lems with ag­gres­sion and may have strug­gled with men­tal health is­sues af­ter his dis­charge from the Marines in 2010. It was not clear if he was ever for­mally di­ag­nosed with post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, a con­di­tion some who knew Long said he suf­fered from.

Long lived with his mother and neigh­bors said the two of­ten en­gaged in scream­ing matches. Po­lice had been called to the home in April, but men­tal health of­fi­cials did not see fit to or­der Long to be in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted at that time.

A for­mer teacher of Long’s also told the Times that he as­saulted and groped her af­ter an ar­gu­ment while he was a stu­dent at New­bury Park High School in 2008, be­fore he joined the mil­i­tary. The school district has not re­sponded to a re­quest for com­ment.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the U.S. De­part­ment of Vet­eran’s Af­fairs said Long was never en­rolled in any of the agency’s health care or treat­ment pro­grams.

Area law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said they had lim­ited con­tact with Long out­side of the April in­ci­dent at his mother’s home. Long had also been the vic­tim of a bat­tery at an­other Ven­tura County bar sev­eral years ago, au­thor­i­ties said.

Miles Weiss, the chief Ven­tura County deputy district at­tor­ney over­see­ing crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tions, said his agency had no con­tact with Long as a wit­ness, vic­tim or sus­pect.

Julie Han­son, who lives next door to the ranch-style home that Long shared with his mother, de­scribed him as “odd” and “dis­re­spect­ful” well be­fore he left home a decade ago, got mar­ried and en­listed in the Marines. She could of­ten hear him yelling and curs­ing, ac­cord­ing to As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports, and sev­eral months ago unusu­ally loud bang­ing and shout­ing prompted her hus­band to call au­thor­i­ties.

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

About 18 months ago, Don and Effie Ma­cLeod heard “an aw­ful ar­gu­ment” and what he be­lieves was a gun­shot from the Longs’ prop­erty. Don Ma­cLeod said he did not call po­lice but avoided speak­ing with Ian Long.

“I told my wife, ‘Just be po­lite to him. If he talks, just ac­knowl­edge him, don’t go into con­ver­sa­tion with him,’ ” Don Ma­cLeod said.

JENNA SCHOENEFELD NYT

Mourn­ers at a vigil on Thurs­day night honor those killed in a shoot­ing at Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

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