High school coach says Cal­i­for­nia bar shooter as­saulted her in past

Lodi News-Sentinel - - STATE - By Matt Hamil­ton

LOS AN­GE­LES — The gun­man who killed 12 peo­ple at a Thou­sand Oaks bar had an an­gry, vi­o­lent side in high school, and a for­mer coach said he as­saulted her dur­ing one out­burst.

Do­minique Colell told The Times that in the spring of 2008, Ian David Long at­tacked her when he was a se­nior on the track team at New­bury Park High School. Colell, then 28, was the girls track coach and also dis­ci­plined the boys team.

Colell said the in­ci­dent be­gan when she was try­ing to iden­tify the owner of a cell­phone a stu­dent had found. Long saw her with the phone and ran over, scream­ing ex­ple­tives and de­mand­ing she re­turn the phone. Colell re­fused. She said she told him she had to ver­ify whether he was the owner by call­ing the num­ber listed un­der “Mom.”

Long was shak­ing with rage, she said.

“He started to grab at me,” Colell said. “He reached around and with one arm, groped my stom­ach. He grabbed my butt with the other arm.”

She even­tu­ally pushed him off, then ver­i­fied the phone be­longed to him. But she booted him from the team for as­sault­ing her.

“Get out,” she told him. “You are out of track.”

Long com­plained to an­other coach, who ques­tioned Colell's de­ci­sion, she re­called. When she es­ca­lated the in­ci­dent, one high school ad­min­is­tra­tor told her she was “just too young and good look­ing to be taken se­ri­ously.”

The next day, Long came to prac­tice with flow­ers and pleaded to re­turn to the team. Colell said she re­fused.

Even­tu­ally, ad­min­is­tra­tors and other coaches pres­sured her to ac­cept his apol­ogy and al­low him back on the team. Colell said she was told that she was ru­in­ing Long's fu­ture and that the in­ci­dent could jeop­ar­dize his ap­pli­ca­tion to the Marines.

To her re­gret, she re­lented, fear­ing it would hurt her chances to se­cure a po­si­tion to teach art at the school. She re­called an­other coach say­ing that the Marines “would save this kid,” and said she was happy he was en­list­ing.

A spokesman for Conejo Val­ley Uni­fied School District did not re­spond late Thurs­day to a re­quest for com­ment about the in­ci­dent.

Oth­ers have spo­ken of Long's ag­gres­sion and, af­ter his dis­charge from the Marines, his strug­gle with men­tal health is­sues. Richard Var­gas, 29, said he at­tended El Mo­dena High School in Or­ange with Long be­fore he trans­ferred to school in New­bury Park.

“The kid was an in­sti­ga­tor,” Var­gas said. “He was al­ways try­ing to start fights.”

Colell said that Long's anger was paired with vul­gar lan­guage, and that ad­min­is­tra­tors ap­peared to know about his be­hav­ior is­sues. When Long or any other stu­dent cursed, she said, she im­posed a penalty of a one-mile run.

“He owed me miles reg­u­larly,” she said. “One time, he cussed and started his laps, and every time he passed me, he cursed again. I'd add an­other mile.”

The tally ran up to 13 miles. Colell said that by her rec­ol­lec­tion, Long ran the full 13 miles while she waited.

“He was very de­ter­mined and very an­gry,” she said. “He was prob­a­bly the only stu­dent that I was ac­tu­ally scared of when I coached there.”

Colell said she learned Thurs­day morn­ing that Long was the gun­man while watch­ing the news.

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