Cal­i­for­nia shoot­ing: US Ma­rine vet­eran kills 12 in bar packed with stu­dents


A US Ma­rine vet­eran dressed in black sprayed bul­lets in­side a crowded dance bar pop­u­lar with col­lege stu­dents on Wed­nes­day night, killing at least 12 peo­ple, in­clud­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, in Thou­sand Oaks city in Cal­i­for­nia, in one of the "hor­rific" mass shoot­ing in­ci­dents in the US.

The gun­man, who also in­jured nearly two dozen oth­ers, was found dead in­side the Border­line Bar and Grill on the out­skirts of Los An­ge­les.

Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean iden­ti­fied the gun­man as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a US Ma­rine Corps vet­eran, who used a .45 cal­iber Glock hand­gun dur­ing the shoot­ing.

Long, who shot him­self, was dead when of­fi­cers made en­try into the bar, Dean said as he de­scribed the shoot­ing in­ci­dent as "hor­rific." "It's a hor­rific scene in there, there is blood ev­ery­where and the sus­pect is part of that," he said.

He said the mo­tive of the shooter is still un­clear. He was known to au­thor­i­ties for mi­nor crimes.

The shooter was on ac­tive duty with the US Ma­rine Corps from Au­gust 2008 to March 2013, ac­cord­ing to De­part­ment of De­fense records.

Au­thor­i­ties had "mi­nor" run-ins with Long in the past, Dean said, cit­ing few in­ci­dents.

"We have had sev­eral con­tacts with Long over the years, mi­nor events, a traf­fic col­li­sion," Dean said, adding that deputies were called to his house for a dis­tur­bance in April this year and "felt he might be suf­fer­ing from Post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der (PTSD)."

Twenty-one peo­ple wounded in the shoot­ing were treated and re­leased from area hospi­tals, ac­cord­ing to the Ven­tura County Sher­iff's Of­fice. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that he has been "fully briefed on the ter­ri­ble shoot­ing in Cal­i­for­nia". "Law En­force­ment and First Re­spon­ders, to­gether with the FBI, are on scene. Thir­teen peo­ple, at this time, have been re­ported dead. Like­wise, the shooter is dead, along with the first po­lice of­fi­cer to en­ter the bar....

"Great brav­ery shown by po­lice. Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol was on scene within 3 min­utes, with first of­fi­cer to en­ter shot nu­mer­ous times. That Sher­iff's Sergeant died in the hos­pi­tal. God bless all of the vic­tims and fam­i­lies of the vic­tims. Thank you to Law En­force­ment," Trump said in a se­ries of tweets. In mem­ory of vic­tims, Pres­i­dent Trump in a procla­ma­tion or­dered that the flag of the US shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all pub­lic build­ings and grounds.

The hooded gun­man burst into the bar around 11.20 pm (lo­cal time) en­tirely dressed in black.

Ven­tura County Sher­iff's De­part­ment Sgt. Ron

Helus and a Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cer en­tered the bar first and were met with gun­fire from the sus­pect, the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported, cit­ing of­fi­cials.

Helus was shot sev­eral times and suc­cumbed to his in­juries at a hos­pi­tal. He was plan­ning to re­tire next year af­ter a 29-year stint with the sher­iff's de­part­ment, Dean said. Helus, who died "a hero", is sur­vived by a son and his wife, whom he called be­fore en­ter­ing the bar, Dean added. It was the sec­ond mass shoot­ing in the US within two weeks. "We have no idea if there is a ter­ror­ism link to this or not. As you know, these are on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions and that in­for­ma­tion will come out as soon as we are able to de­ter­mine ex­actly who the sus­pect was and what mo­tive he might have had for this hor­rific event," Dean added.

Cit­ing wit­nesses, the pa­per said that peo­ple ran for cover when shoot­ing started. Some peo­ple tried to break win­dows us­ing chairs to es­cape the build­ing while some hid in bath­rooms.

The FBI'S Joint Ter­ror­ism Task Force has been rushed to the scene, ac­cord­ing to an agency spokes­woman. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the US Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms & Ex­plo­sives were also dis­patched.

Ac­cord­ing to bar's web­site, Wed­nes­day nights are col­lege-themed nights open to stu­dents as young as 18.

Quot­ing wit­nesses, the pa­per said the event is pop­u­lar with Moor­park col­lege stu­dents, and the Pep­per­dine stu­dent news­pa­per tweeted that stu­dents from its cam­pus were also in­side at the time of the shoot­ing.

"He just pulled out a gun and shot my friend that was work­ing the front desk," 21-year-old Holden Har­rah was quoted as say­ing by the pa­per. "I heard more gun­shots be­hind me. I was freak­ing out," said Har­rah, who was among the hun­dreds in­side lis­ten­ing to mu­sic Wed­nes­day night as a part of the col­lege night event. The sus­pect is re­ported to have drove his mother's car to the at­tack and said noth­ing upon en­ter­ing the bar.

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