Shooter de­bated san­ity on­line dur­ing mas­sacre

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Jonathan J. COOPER, Michael BALSAMO

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — The gun­man who killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia went on so­cial me­dia dur­ing the at­tack and posted about his men­tal state and whether peo­ple would be­lieve he was sane, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial 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 night’s ram­page at the Border­line Bar and Grill.

The of­fi­cial was briefed on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion but not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss it pub­licly and spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity. The of­fi­cial would not give ad­di­tional de­tails on what the 28-year-old for­mer Marine posted on his Face­book and In­sta­gram ac­counts.

Long, a for­mer ma­chine-gun­ner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire with a 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 sher­iff’s deputies re­sponded to a call about his ag­i­tated be­hav­iour last spring wor­ried he might be suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened in April, A pic­ture of Noel Sparks is seen dur­ing a can­dle­light vigil in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., on Thurs­day. A gun­man, iden­ti­fied as Ian David Long, opened fire Wed­nes­day night in­side a coun­try mu­sic bar, killing 12 peo­ple.

when yelling and loud bang­ing noises com­ing from the home Long shared with his mother prompted a next-door neigh­bour to call au­thor­i­ties. The men­tal health spe­cial­ist con­cluded there were no grounds to have him in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted.

Sev­eral peo­ple who knew Long a decade ago as a high-schooler in the sub­urb of Thou­sand Oaks said in in­ter­views that he made them un­com­fort­able, some­times through ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour.

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.

The dead in the shoot­ing ram­page in­cluded sher­iff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year vet­eran gunned down as he en­tered the bar, and Telemachus Or­fanos, 27, who sur­vived last year’s mas­sacre in Las Ve­gas, where a gun­man in a high­rise ho­tel opened fire and killed 58 peo­ple at an out­door coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val.

Au­thor­i­ties in Thou­sand Oaks de­scribed an at­tack 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 Longs’ ranch-style home, 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.

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.

Long made oth­ers feel un­com­fort­able go­ing back to his teens.

Do­minique Colell, who coached girls’ track and field at the high school where Long was a sprinter, re­mem­bers an an­gry young man who could be ver­bally and phys­i­cally com­bat­ive.

In one in­stance, Colell said Long used his fin­gers to mimic shoot­ing her in the back of the head as she talked to an­other ath­lete. In an­other, he grabbed her rear and mid­sec­tion af­ter she re­fused to re­turn a cell­phone he said was his.

“I lit­er­ally feared for my­self around him,” Colell said in an in­ter­view. “He was the only ath­lete that I was scared of.”

AP PHOTO

LONG

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