Gun­man posted about his san­ity be­fore at­tack

Of­fi­cials have not de­ter­mined mo­tive in Calif. mas­sacre

Orlando Sentinel - - NATION & WORLD -

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — The gun­man who killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia went on so­cial me­dia ei­ther dur­ing or right be­fore the at­tack and posted about his men­tal state and whether peo­ple would be­lieve he was sane, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

Also, one of the pos­si­bil­i­ties in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into is whether gun­man Ian David Long be­lieved his for­mer girl­friend would be at the bar, the of­fi­cial said.

Au­thor­i­ties have not de­ter­mined a mo­tive for Wed­nes­day’s night ram­page.

Long, 28, 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 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.

Long, a for­mer Ma­rine Corps ma­chine gun­ner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire with a .45cal­iber hand­gun dur­ing col­lege night at the bar, then ap­par­ently killed him­self as scores of po­lice of­fi­cers closed in.

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.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have not com­mented on whether men­tal ill­ness played a role in the ram­page. But a men­tal health spe­cial­ist who as­sessed Long af­ter po­lice were called about his ag­i­tated be­hav­ior last spring wor­ried he might be suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened in April, when one of the loud and re­peated fights he had with his mother at the home was so bad that a next-door neigh­bor called po­lice. The men­tal health spe­cial­ist con­cluded there were no grounds to have him in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted.

At the White House, Trump touted his ef­forts to fund work on PTSD among vet­er­ans. He de­clined to en­gage on ques­tions on whether the na­tion needs stricter gun con­trol laws.

Sher­iff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year vet­eran, was gunned down as he en­tered the bar to con­front the shooter. 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; for­mer Ma­rine Dan Man­rique, 33; Justin Meek, 23; Kristina Morisette, 20; Mark Meza Jr., 20; Telemachus Or­fanos, 27; and Noel Sparks.

Or­fanos sur­vived last year’s mas­sacre in Las Ve­gas, where a gun­man in a high-rise ho­tel killed 58 peo­ple at an out­door coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val.

Au­thor­i­ties in Thou­sand Oaks de­scribed an as­sault of mil­i­tary ef­fi­ciency. None of those in­jured was hurt by gun­fire, au­thor­i­ties said. In­stead, when Long shot, he killed.

“Ev­ery Ma­rine is trained in ur­ban war­fare and in­door gun fight­ing,” said Marc Ben­der, an in­struc­tor for emer­gency re­spon­ders in River­side County, Calif. “Ev­ery Ma­rine is a marks­man.”

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, but 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.

DAMIAN DOVARGANES/AP

Sur­vivors Alexa Bre­vig and her brother, Devin, take turns hug­ging their mother Fri­day at the park­ing lot’s en­trance to the Border­line Bar and Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

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