A combat veteran has gone on a killing spree in a bar in California
Veteran kills 12 at music bar
US: Terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran killed 12 people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatised by mass shootings.
Dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, the gunman apparently took his own life as scores of police converged on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Southern California.
The motive for the rampage late Wednesday night was under investigation. The killer, Ian David Long, 28, was a former machine gunner and Afghanistan war veteran who was interviewed by police at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behaviour that authorities were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.
Opening fire with a handgun with an illegal, extra-capacity magazine, Long shot a security guard outside the bar and then went in and took aim at employees and customers, authorities said. He also used a smoke bomb, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorised to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The dead included a man who had survived last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, a veteran sheriff’s deputy who rushed in to confront the gunman, a 22-year-old man who planned to join the Army and a freshman at nearby Pepperdine University.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in the parking lot. “There’s blood everywhere.” Survivors of the rampage – mostly young people who had gone out for college night at the Borderline, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University and other schools – seemed to know what to do, having come of age in an era of active-shooter drills and deadly rampages happening with terrifying frequency.
Friends hug outside Los Robles Medical Center in Thousands Oaks, California, paying tribute to Ventura Country Sheriff's Sgt Ron Helus, who was one of 12 killed in the mass shooting