Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran kills 12 in Cal­i­for­nia bar shoot­ing

Au­thor­i­ties said mo­tive for the at­tack is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - Canada & World - KRYSTA FAU­RIA

THOU­SAND OAKS, CALIF. — Us­ing a smoke bomb and a hand­gun, a hooded Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran dressed all in black opened fire dur­ing col­lege night at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, killing 12 peo­ple and send­ing hun­dreds flee­ing in ter­ror be­fore ap­par­ently tak­ing his own life, au­thor­i­ties said Thurs­day.

Au­thor­i­ties said the mo­tive for the at­tack Wed­nes­day night was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The killer was iden­ti­fied as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a for­mer ma­chine-gun­ner and vet­eran of the war in Afghanistan who was in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home last spring af­ter an episode of ag­i­tated be­hav­iour that they were told might be post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Scream­ing in fear, pa­trons rushed for the ex­its, dived un­der ta­bles and used bar stools to smash sec­ond-floor win­dows and jump to safety as gun­fire re­ver­ber­ated through the Border­line Bar & Grill, a hang­out pop­u­lar with stu­dents from nearby Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Univer­sity.

“I dropped to the floor,” Sarah Rose DeSon told ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.” “A friend yelled, ‘Ev­ery­body down!’ We were hid­ing be­hind ta­bles try­ing to keep our­selves cov­ered.”

The dead in­cluded 11 peo­ple in­side the bar and a vet­eran sher­iff’s sergeant who was the first of­fi­cer in­side the door, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said.

“It’s a hor­rific scene in there,” Dean said in the park­ing lot. “There’s blood ev­ery­where.”

The blood­shed was the lat­est in what seems to be a never-end­ing

string of mass shoot­ings that are hap­pen­ing with ter­ri­fy­ing fre­quency across the United States.

All morn­ing, peo­ple look­ing for miss­ing friends and rel­a­tives ar­rived at a com­mu­nity cen­tre where au­thor­i­ties and coun­sel­lors were in­form­ing the next of kin of those who died. Many walked past TV cam­eras with blank stares or tears in their eyes. In the park­ing lot, peo­ple com­forted each other with hugs or a pat on the back.

Ja­son Coff­man re­ceived the news that his son Cody, 22, who was about to join the army, was dead. Coff­man broke down as he told re­porters how his last words to his son as he went out that night were not to drink and drive and that he loved him.

“Oh, Cody, I love you, son,” Coff­man sobbed.

“Sis­ter Sis­ter” ac­tress Tam­era Mowry-Hous­ley and her hus­band said their 18-year-old niece Alaina Housely, a stu­dent at nearby Pep­per­dine Univer­sity, was also among those killed.

So was Justin Meek, a 23-yearold re­cent grad­u­ate of Cal Lutheran, ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity.

It was the na­tion’s dead­li­est such at­tack since 17 stu­dents and teach­ers were killed at a Park­land, Flor­ida, high school nine

months ago. It also came less than two weeks af­ter a gun­man mas­sa­cred 11 peo­ple at a sy­n­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh.

Demo­cratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since win­ning of­fice on Tues­day, lamented the vi­o­lence that has come again to Cal­i­for­nia.

“It’s a gun cul­ture,” he said. “You can’t go to a bar or night­club? You can’t go to church or sy­n­a­gogue? It’s in­sane is the only way to de­scribe it. The nor­mal­iza­tion, that’s the only way I can de­scribe it. It’s be­come nor­mal­ized.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump praised po­lice for their “great brav­ery” in the at­tack and or­dered flags flown at half-staff in hon­our of the vic­tims.

Long was armed with a Glock 21, a .45-cal­i­bre pis­tol de­signed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the cham­ber, ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff. But it had an ex­tended mag­a­zine — one ca­pa­ble of hold­ing more am­mu­ni­tion — that is il­le­gal in Cal­i­for­nia, Dean said.

The killer also de­ployed a smoke de­vice, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press. The of­fi­cial was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Au­thor­i­ties con­verged on Long’s home in New­bury Park, about five miles from the Border­line bar, in a search for clues to what set him off.

“There’s no in­di­ca­tion that he tar­geted the em­ploy­ees. We haven’t found any cor­re­la­tion,” the sher­iff said. “Maybe there was a mo­tive for this par­tic­u­lar night, but we have no in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to that at all.”

Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of cor­po­ral and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11 be­fore he was hon­ourably dis­charged, the mil­i­tary said. Court records show he mar­ried in 2009 and was di­vorced in 2013.

Au­thor­i­ties said he had no crim­i­nal record, but in April of­fi­cers were called to his home, where deputies found him an­gry and act­ing ir­ra­tionally. The sher­iff said of­fi­cers were told he might have PTSD be­cause of his mil­i­tary ser­vice.

A men­tal health spe­cial­ist met with him and didn’t feel he needed to be hos­pi­tal­ized.

Tom Han­son, 70, who lives next door to Long and his mother, said Thurs­day that he called the po­lice about six months ago when he heard “heavy-duty bang­ing” and shout­ing com­ing from the Longs’ home.

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

Han­son said the sher­iff’s deputy who ar­rived took his in­for­ma­tion, but he never learned more about what hap­pened and hadn’t spo­ken to Long since then. He said he was “dumb­founded” by the blood­shed.

The gun­man first shot a se­cu­rity guard stand­ing out­side, then went in and opened fire on staff mem­bers and pa­trons, the sher­iff said.

“A friend yelled, ‘Ev­ery­body down!’ We were hid­ing be­hind ta­bles try­ing to keep our­selves cov­ered.” SARAH ROSE DESON



Peo­ple stopped to watch the pro­ces­sion car­ry­ing the body of Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed in the shoot­ing at the Border­line Bar and Grill.


Los An­ge­les County Deputy Sher­iff Ar­mando Viera con­soles an uniden­ti­fied woman on a free­way over­pass.

Ian David Long: shooter

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