Thou­sand Oaks mas­sacre:

San Francisco Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Krysta Fau­ria and Jonathan J. Cooper Krysta Fau­ria and Jonathan J. Cooper are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

⏩ Trump blames night­club at­tack on men­tal ill­ness.

THOU­SAND OAKS, Ven­tura County — As in­ves­ti­ga­tors worked to de­ter­mine why an ex-Marine slaugh­tered 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar, Pres­i­dent Trump on Fri­day blamed men­tal ill­ness, de­scrib­ing the gun­man as “a very sick puppy” who had “a lot of prob­lems.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have not com­mented on a mo­tive for the ram­page or whether men­tal ill­ness played a role. Neigh­bors re­ported hear­ing fre­quent loud fights be­tween Ian David Long and his mother, one of them so ex­treme they called po­lice in April, and au­thor­i­ties at the time wor­ried the 28-year-old Afghanistan war vet­eran might have post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der. How­ever, a men­tal health spe­cial­ist con­cluded there were no grounds to have him in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted.

On Wed­nes­day night, the for­mer ma­chine gun­ner, dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, opened fire with a hand­gun at the Border­line Bar & Grill dur­ing col­lege night, then ap­par­ently killed him­self as scores of po­lice of­fi­cers closed in.

A law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told the As­so­ci­ated Press that Long had Face­book and In­sta­gram ac­counts and that he posted about his men­tal state dur­ing the at­tack and whether peo­ple would be­lieve he was sane.

The dead in­cluded sher­iff ’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year vet­eran near­ing re­tire­ment who re­sponded to re­ports of shots fired and was gunned down as he en­tered the bar. He and other first re­spon­ders “ran to­ward dan­ger,” Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said at a vigil Thurs­day evening, call­ing Helus a hero.

The dead also in­cluded a man who had sur­vived last year’s mas­sacre in Las Ve­gas, Telemachus Or­fanos, 27.

“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts,” said his mother, Su­san Sch­midt-Or­fanos. “I want those bas­tards in Congress — they need to pass gun con­trol so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”

Dani Mer­rill, who es­caped from the Border­line bar when the shoot­ing be­gan, had also at­tended the 2017 Las Ve­gas coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val where a gun­man in a high-rise ho­tel opened fire and killed 58 peo­ple. She was ap­palled that such blood­shed had come to her com­mu­nity.

“I’m su­per up­set that it hap­pened in our home, and I feel aw­ful for the fam­i­lies that have to go through this,” Mer­rill said.

At the White House, Trump touted his ef­forts to fund work on PTSD among vet­er­ans. He de­clined to en­gage on ques­tions on whether the na­tion needs stricter gun con­trol laws.

Julie Han­son, who lives next door to the ranch-style home that Long shared with his mother, de­scribed him as “odd” and “dis­re­spect­ful” well be­fore he left home a decade ago, got mar­ried and en­listed in the Marines. She could of­ten hear him yelling and curs­ing, but sev­eral months ago unusu­ally loud bang­ing and shout­ing prompted her hus­band to call au­thor­i­ties.

“I was con­cerned be­cause I knew he had been in the mil­i­tary,” Tom Han­son said.

About 18 months ago, Don and Effie MacLeod heard “an aw­ful ar­gu­ment” and what he be­lieves was a gun­shot from the Longs’ prop­erty. Don MacLeod said he did not call po­lice but avoided speak­ing with Ian Long.

“I told my wife, ‘Just be po­lite to him. If he talks, just ac­knowl­edge him, don’t go into con­ver­sa­tion with him,’ ” Don MacLeod said.

Thou­sand Oaks is a city of 130,000 peo­ple about 40 miles from Los An­ge­les. It is an­nu­ally listed as one of the safest ci­ties in Amer­ica. “Hope has sus­tained com­mu­ni­ties, very much like Thou­sand Oaks, through the ex­act same triages of mass shoot­ings,” said Andy Fox, the city’s out­go­ing mayor.

It was the na­tion’s dead­li­est such at­tack since 17 stu­dents and teach­ers were killed at a Park­land, Fla., high school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks af­ter a gun­man mas­sa­cred 11 peo­ple at a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh.

Apu Gomes / AFP / Getty Images

FBI agents col­lect ev­i­dence Thurs­day at the home of night­club shooter Ian David Long in Thou­sand Oaks (Ven­tura County). The ex-Marine fa­tally shot 12 peo­ple be­fore killing him­self.

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