Bar shooter ex­Ma­rine; killed 12

Otago Daily Times - - WORLD -

THOUSAND OAKS: The shoot­ing at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, that killed 12 peo­ple on Wed­nes­day night (lo­cal time) was car­ried out by a for­mer US ma­rine com­bat vet­eran who ap­pears to have been act­ing alone.

The gun­man, iden­ti­fied by po­lice as 28­year­old Ian David Long, was found dead of an ap­par­ently self­in­flicted gun­shot wound fol­low­ing the mas­sacre at Border­line Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, a sub­urb 64km north­west of down­town Los An­ge­les, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said.

Paul Dela­court, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor in charge of the Los An­ge­les FBI of­fice, said it was too early to spec­u­late on the shooter’s mo­tives but he ap­peared to have acted alone.

‘‘We will be sure to paint a pic­ture of the state of mind of the sub­ject and do our best to iden­tify a mo­ti­va­tion,’’ he said.

Long opened fire, seem­ingly at ran­dom, in­side the barn­style, Western­themed bar about 11.30pm, us­ing a .45 cal­i­bre Glock hand­gun equipped with a high­ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said.

Long was in the Ma­rine Corps from 2008 to 2013, reach­ing the rank of cor­po­ral and serv­ing as a ma­chine gun­ner in Afghanistan, and the sher­iff said he might have suf­fered from post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously, he had some­thing go­ing on in his head that would cause him to do some­thing like this.’’

Dean said that in April, of­fi­cers had gone to Long’s home in nearby New­bury Park, about 6km from the bar, to an­swer a dis­tur­bance call and found him ag­i­tated. Men­tal health spe­cial­ists talked with Long and de­ter­mined that no fur­ther ac­tion was nec­es­sary, the sher­iff said.

‘‘He was rav­ing hell in the house, you know, kick­ing holes in the walls and stuff and one of the neigh­bours was con­cerned and called the po­lice,’’ Richard Berge, who lived nearby, told Reuters. ‘‘They couldn’t get him to come out, so it was like a stand­off for four or five hours.’’

Berge, who took care of Long’s mother’s dogs, said she told him af­ter that in­ci­dent she wor­ried her son might take his own life, but she did not fear he would hurt her.

Asked what the scene in­side the bar was like, Dean said, ‘‘Like . . . hell.’’ Ear­lier he had de­scribed it as ‘‘a hor­rific scene in there. There is blood ev­ery­where and the sus­pect is part of that.’’

The Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment said 21 peo­ple had been treated for in­juries and dis­charged from area hos­pi­tals.

Cole Knapp (19) was in­side the bar when the shoot­ing be­gan and told Reuters he saw the gun­man walk in and stop at the counter, as if to pay a cover charge, be­fore he heard gun­shots ring out and a young woman at the counter was hit with mul­ti­ple rounds.

‘‘It took a cou­ple of sec­onds for peo­ple to re­alise what was go­ing on and once that hap­pened it was just ut­ter chaos,’’ he said.

Knapp said he helped peo­ple hide be­hind a pool ta­ble and then fled out­side, alert­ing peo­ple on an out­door smok­ing pa­tio and help­ing carry a vic­tim to an am­bu­lance.

The mas­sacre was the lat­est shoot­ing ram­page in the United States amid a fierce de­bate over gun con­trol.

In the hours af­ter the shoot­ing, con­cerned fam­ily mem­bers gath­ered at a nearby teen cen­tre wait­ing to learn the fate of loved ones.

Ja­son Coff­man wept as he told reporters that his son, Cody (22), was among the dead.

At night­fall more than 2000 mourn­ers gath­ered at a lo­cal per­form­ing arts cen­tre for a can­dle­light vigil on be­half of the vic­tims, singing Amaz­ing Grace and pray­ing. — Reuters

PHOTO: REUTERS

Dev­as­tated . . . A mourner holds a photo of one of the vic­tims as she ar­rives at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza for a vigil fol­low­ing the shoot­ing.

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