Rage and vi­o­lence part of gun­man’s mind­set as a teen

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Matt Hamil­ton, James Queally and Richard Win­ton matt.hamil­ton @la­times.com james.queally@la­times.com richard.win­ton @la­times.com Times staff writer Dakota Smith con­tributed to this re­port.

A decade be­fore he stormed a pop­u­lar Thou­sand Oaks bar armed with a hand­gun this week, Ian David Long’s propen­sity for rage was well known to some of his teach­ers.

Evie Cluke, a for­mer as­sis­tant track and field coach at New­bury Park High School, said the teenage Long some­times traded punches with ri­val ath­letes at track meets, as­saulted an­other fe­male coach and showed off what ap­peared to be a hand­gun on cam­pus.

Stand­ing about 40 yards away, Cluke said, she could see Long hold­ing a small, black ob­ject against his chest that re­sem­bled a pis­tol. By the time she alerted a su­per­vi­sor, Long had driven off, and he later de­nied hav­ing a weapon, she said.

When Long ex­plained why he was join­ing the Marines af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Cluke be­came more un­nerved. She said he told her: “I want to go and fight for my coun­try and kill for my coun­try.”

“A state­ment like that sticks in your brain when you know a kid has is­sues that need to be ad­dressed,” Cluke said.

As po­lice strug­gle to piece to­gether a mo­tive be­hind the mas­sacre that left 12 other peo­ple dead in­side the Border­line Bar and Grill, a trou­bling por­trait of Long con­tin­ued to emerge.

On Fri­day, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials told The Times that Long was post­ing on In­sta­gram dur­ing the shoot­ing.

“We can see it from the time stamps and other ev­i­dence as well what he was do­ing: He would fire shots, then go on the In­sta­gram ac­count,” Ven­tura County sher­iff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said.

He said Long’s mes­sages were pub­licly view­able for hours be­fore in­ves­ti­ga­tors lo­cated his ac­count, alerted In­sta­gram and asked the com­pany to pre­serve the images but take down the ac­count.

In the posts, Long wrote that he hoped peo­ple would re­fer to him as “in­sane” and mocked the “thoughts and

prayers” that are fre­quently of­fered in pub­lic state­ments and on so­cial me­dia af­ter mass shoot­ings, ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the per­son was not au­tho­rized to pub­licly dis­cuss the case.

Among the dead was sher­iff ’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who en­tered the bar min­utes af­ter the shoot­ing be­gan and en­gaged in a fire­fight with Long.

Helus was shot sev­eral times and died at a hos­pi­tal hours later. Long was found dead of a gun­shot wound in the back of the bar, though it re­mains un­clear if he took his own life or died af­ter be­ing shot by po­lice.

The other 11 vic­tims are Sean Adler, 48; Cody Coff­man, 22; Blake Ding­man, 21; Jake Dun­ham, 21; Alaina Hous­ley, 18; Dan Man­rique, 33; Justin Meek, 23; Kristina Morisette, 20; Mark Meza Jr., 20; Telemachus Or­fanos, 27; and Noel Sparks, 21.

Long lived with his mother, and neigh­bors said the two of­ten en­gaged in scream­ing matches. In April, sher­iff ’s deputies went to the home in re­sponse to a dis­turb­ing the peace call. Cri­sis team mem­bers de­cided not to de­tain Long, who had served in the Marines un­til 2013, though they dis­cussed whether he might have post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, au­thor­i­ties said.

An­other of Long’s high school track coaches said he at­tacked her dur­ing a dis­pute in 2008. Do­minique Colell re­called that she was try­ing to de­ter­mine whe­hter he owned a cell­phone that had been found by an­other stu­dent, and Long was shak­ing with rage.

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

“He was prob­a­bly the only stu­dent that I was ac­tu­ally scared of when I coached there,” Colell said.

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