Gunman storms club, killing at least 12
A former U.S. Marine machine gunner who may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder burst into a Thousand Oaks bar packed with college students late Wednesday night, tossed a smoke bomb into the crowd and opened fire, authorities said.
Eleven people were killed, in addition to a sheriff’s sergeant responding to the scene who was gunned down by the assailant minutes later. The shooting left 12 people dead and 18 others injured, some who were hurt trying to escape.
The suspected gunman, Ian David Long, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a back room at the Borderline Bar and Grill. The amount of blood inside the bar made it difficult to tell whether he shot himself or was killed by law enforcement, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Long, 28, lived in Newbury Park. He did not say anything before opening fire, a law enforcement official said.
Long had served a sevenmonth tour in Afghanistan during his nearly five years in the service, according to the Department of Defense.
Neighbors said they suspected he had emotional issues. Deputies who were called to Long’s home in April for a complaint of disturbing the peace said he was irate and was acting irrationally, Dean said. Mental health workers decided he did not meet the standard for an emergency psychiatric hold.
Ventura Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus had been talking to his wife on the phone when he received a radio call about the shooting, Dean said.
Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first people to run into the bar, about four minutes after the first 911 call, Dean said. Helus was shot multiple times, almost immediately, and the CHP officer dragged him out of the building. Helus died early Thursday morning at a hospital. He was a 29-year veteran of the department who planned to retire in a year or two, Dean said.
The shooter was armed with a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun, Dean said.