Gun­man wrote posts about men­tal health dur­ing at­tack

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Jonathan J. Cooper and Michael Bal­samo

THOU­SAND OAKS, CALIF. — The gun­man who killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia went on so­cial me­dia dur­ing the at­tack and posted about his men­tal state and whether peo­ple would be­lieve he was sane, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said Fri­day.

Also, one of the pos­si­bil­i­ties in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into is whether gun­man Ian David Long be­lieved his for­mer girl­friend would be at the bar, the of­fi­cial said.

Au­thor­i­ties have not de­ter­mined a mo­tive for Wed­nes­day’s night ram­page at the Border­line Bar & Grill.

The of­fi­cial — who was briefed on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion but not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss it pub­licly and spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity — would not give ad­di­tional de­tails on what the 28-yearold for­mer Marine posted on his Face­book and In­sta­gram ac­counts.

Long, a for­mer ma­chine gun­ner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire with a hand­gun in the at­tack, then ap­par­ently killed him­self as scores of po­lice of­fi­cers closed in.

As in­ves­ti­ga­tors worked to fig­ure out what set him off, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blamed men­tal ill­ness, de­scrib­ing the gun­man as “a very sick puppy” who had “a lot of prob­lems.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have not com­mented on whether men­tal ill­ness played a role in the ram­page.

But 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 that the Afghanistan war vet­eran might have post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, though a men­tal health spe­cial­ist con­cluded there were no grounds to have him in­vol­un­tar­ily com­mit­ted.

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.

Also killed was 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 vigil.

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 about 130,000 peo­ple about 40 miles from Los An­ge­les.

“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. “Tonight Thou­sand Oaks takes its place with those cities, who in or­der to move for­ward will rely on hope. ... We are Thou­sand Oaks strong.”

The at­tack came less than two weeks after a gun­man mas­sa­cred 11 peo­ple at a syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh.


Ian David Long, 28, had served with the Marines as a ma­chine gun­ner in Afghanistan.

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