Gun­man had seen health spe­cial­ist

Waikato Times - - World -

The gun­man who killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in a Los An­ge­les sub­urb was a for­mer mil­i­tary ma­chine gun­ner who was in­ter­viewed by men­tal health spe­cial­ists months ago af­ter a neigh­bour re­ported a dis­tur­bance.

Ian David Long, 28, ap­par­ently killed him­self af­ter the at­tack on Thurs­day. He had joined the Marines and mar­ried young. Within sev­eral years, he left the mil­i­tary and di­vorced, later en­rolling in a univer­sity and most re­cently liv­ing with his mother.

Long’s ser­vice be­gan when he was 18 and lasted nearly five years, in­clud­ing a seven-month tour in Afghanistan, ac­cord­ing to the Pen­tagon. He was hon­ourably dis­charged with the rank of cor­po­ral in 2013.

In April, a neigh­bour called au­thor­i­ties to re­port loud noises com­ing from the house that Long shared with his mother in a Thou­sand Oaks neigh­bour­hood of well­man­i­cured lawns and homes.

Deputies found Long ‘‘was some­what irate, act­ing a lit­tle ir­ra­tionally’’ and called in a men­tal health spe­cial­ist, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said.

That spe­cial­ist as­sessed Long but con­cluded he couldn’t be in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted for psy­chi­atric ob­ser­va­tion.

‘‘The men­tal health ex­perts out there cleared him that day,’’ Dean told re­porters yes­ter­day, less than 12 hours af­ter the Thurs­day mas­sacre.

They were con­cerned that Long might be suf­fer­ing from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, Dean said, ‘‘bas­ing that (on) the fact that he was a vet­eran and had been in the Corps’’. Long’s only other con­tact with au­thor­i­ties came af­ter a traf­fic col­li­sion and af­ter he al­leged he was the vic­tim of a vi­o­lent en­counter in 2015 at an­other bar in Thou­sand Oaks, Dean said.

A next-door neigh­bour said he called au­thor­i­ties about six months ago when he heard loud bang­ing and shout­ing com­ing from Long’s ranch-style home.

‘‘I got con­cerned, so I called the sher­iffs,’’ neigh­bour Tom Han­son said out­side his home yes­ter­day as fed­eral and lo­cal law en­force­ment of­fi­cers searched Long’s house, where an Amer­i­can flag flew over the garage.

‘‘I was con­cerned be­cause I knew he had been in the mil­i­tary.’’

Han­son de­scribed Long as an in­tro­vert who never caused him prob­lems and said he was ‘‘dumb­founded’’ by the mas­sacre.

Au­thor­i­ties haven’t iden­ti­fied what mo­ti­vated Long to open fire dur­ing col­lege night at Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 peo­ple around 64 kilo­me­tres from down­town Los An­ge­les.

The dead in­cluded 11 peo­ple in­side the bar and a vet­eran sher­iff’s sergeant who was the first of­fi­cer through the door. Hun­dreds fled in ter­ror be­fore Long ap­par­ently killed him­self.

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

The Marine Corps said Long earned sev­eral awards, in­clud­ing a Com­bat Ac­tion Rib­bon and a Marine Corps Good Con­duct Medal. He was as­signed to the 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 3rd Marine Reg­i­ment, Third Marine Divi­sion in Ka­neohe Bay, Hawaii.

Long’s mother, Colleen, posted Face­book pho­tos of her son in his mil­i­tary uni­form in 2010 and 2011.

‘‘My Son is home, well sort of, back in Hawaii, soon to be in Cali come Jan­uary, hooray!’’ she wrote on De­cem­ber 14, 2012.

An­other photo from 2014 shows Ian Long with his arm draped around his mother in front of Dodger Sta­dium. The two were wear­ing Dodgers T-shirts and smiles.

Court records show Long was mar­ried as a 19-year-old in Hon­olulu in June 2009, and he and his wife sep­a­rated in June 2011 while he was de­ployed to Afghanistan. The cou­ple cited ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences in di­vorce pa­pers filed in May 2013, two months af­ter Long left the Marines. Their mar­riage of­fi­cially ended that Novem­ber.

Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity, Northridge, said in a state­ment that Long was a stu­dent, last at­tend­ing in 2016, but of­fered no fur­ther de­tails. –AP

AP

Fam­ily mem­bers are led into the Thou­sand Oaks Teen Cen­tre where fam­i­lies have gath­ered af­ter a deadly shoot­ing at a bar on Thurs­day in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia.

For­mer ma­chine gun­ner Ian David Long

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