Neigh­bors de­scribe gun­man as an­gry Afghan war vet­eran

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY NANCY DIL­LON AND JES­SICA SCHLADEBECK

It was an omi­nous an­swer his high school base­ball coach finds chilling in hind­sight.

Cal­i­for­nia mass shooter Ian David Long replied with just one word – “death” – when pre­dict­ing his fu­ture for a var­sity pro­gram pro­duced for his New­bury Park High School base­ball team in 2007.

“We had kids mess­ing around, say­ing jokey stuff, but this def­i­nitely looks dis­turb­ing now. It’s un­be­liev­able,” Matt Gold­field, one of the team coaches that year, told the Daily News.

Gold­field and fel­low coach Scott Drootin re­mem­bered Long, 28, as an “so­cially awk­ward” kid with “sad eyes” who quit base­ball af­ter be­ing the last out of a play­off game that ended his team’s hopes for a cham­pi­onship his ju­nior year.

The men never sus­pected the fu­ture Ma­rine would re­turn from a tour in Afghanistan and use a .45cal­iber hand­gun to storm the Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., and mur­der 12 peo­ple.

Long’s neigh­bors, mean­while, weren’t sur­prised.

“He was very ag­gres­sive. There were threats of vi­o­lence, more than once,” Don­ald J. MacLeod, who lives di­rectly be­hind Long’s house in New­bury Park told The News. “There’s no ques­tion in my mind the guy was trou­bled, and (Afghanistan) didn’t help him.”

MacLeod, 79, re­called hear­ing Long (photo) be­rate his mom dur­ing reg­u­lar fights in­side their ranch­style house at all hours of the day and night.

He fig­ured Long had a gun af­ter hear­ing a gun­shot ring from the house dur­ing a loud fight about 18 months ago.

“The ar­gu­ment was go­ing on a good 10 to 15 min­utes. It am­pli­fied up, up and up with a cou­ple of door slams in be­tween,” he said. “All of a sud­den, I heard a gun­shot. I told my wife, ‘Leave the lights out, don’t go near the back wall, a bul­let can go through the stucco,’” MacLeod said.

The re­tired fire­fighter from Scot­land said he qui­etly crept into his yard to bet­ter de­ter­mine what was go­ing on over the fence.

“I came out­side very qui­etly. Then their lights went all off and the dogs just shut up, and ev­ery­thing went quiet,” he said. “I know a gun­shot when I hear one.”

He said the shooter moved in with his mom as a trou­bled teen, and came back from Afghanistan even an­grier.

“When he came back he was a lot worse. It got turbo-charged,” MacLeod said. “The du­ra­tion of the ar­gu­ments was a lot longer.”

Blake Win­nett, a set builder from Simi Val­ley, met Long in 2013 and later lived with him while Long went to col­lege.

“He kept to him­self, al­ways had his ear­buds in. He went to the gym, went to class or rode his mo­tor­cy­cle,” he said.

He said they oc­ca­sion­ally went to Border­line to­gether, but Long seemed to pre­fer elec­tronic mu­sic to the bar’s coun­try vibe.

MacLeod said the gun­man’s mom, Colleen Long, was a nice woman who had as many as five res­cue dogs in the house at once.

The mom wrote a trib­ute to her son in an ad she bought in­side the 2007 base­ball guide ob­tained by The News: “I’ll love you for­ever. I’ll like you for al­ways. As long as I’m liv­ing, my baby you’ll be.”

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