Ram­page

Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran kills 12 in Cal­i­for­nia bar

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE -

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — Ter­ri­fied pa­trons hurled barstools through win­dows to es­cape or threw their bod­ies pro­tec­tively on top of friends as a Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran killed 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in an at­tack that added Thou­sand Oaks to the tragic ros­ter of Amer­i­can cities trau­ma­tized by mass shoot­ings.

Dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, the gun­man ap­par­ently took his own life as scores of po­lice con­verged on the Border­line Bar and Grill in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

The mo­tive for the ram­page late Wed­nes­day night was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The killer, Ian David Long, 28, was a for­mer ma­chine gun­ner and Afghanistan war vet­eran who was in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home last spring af­ter an episode of ag­i­tated be­hav­ior that au­thor­i­ties were told might be post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Open­ing fire with a hand­gun with an il­le­gal, ex­tra-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine, Long shot a se­cu­rity guard out­side the bar and then went in and took aim at em­ploy­ees and cus­tomers, au­thor­i­ties said. He also used a smoke bomb, ac­cord­ing to a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial who was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The dead in­cluded a man who had sur­vived last year’s mas­sacre in Las Ve­gas, a vet­eran sher­iff’s deputy who rushed in to con­front the gun­man, a 22-year-old man who planned to join the Army, a fresh­man at nearby Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­sity and a re­cent Cal Lutheran grad­u­ate.

“It’s a hor­rific scene in there,” Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said in the park­ing lot. “There’s blood ev­ery­where.”

Sur­vivors of the ram­page — mostly young peo­ple who had gone out for col­lege night at the Border­line, a hang­out pop­u­lar with stu­dents from nearby Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity and other schools — seemed to know what to do, hav­ing come of age in an era of ac­tive-shooter drills and deadly ram­pages hap­pen­ing with ter­ri­fy­ing fre­quency.

For some it was not a new ex­pe­ri­ence. Sur­vivors and their rel­a­tives said sev­eral peo­ple who were at the bar Thurs­day had been at the out­door coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas last year where a gun­man in a high­rise ho­tel killed 58 peo­ple.

“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts,” said Su­san Sch­midt-Or­fanos, whose son Telemachus Or­fanos sur­vived the Ve­gas shoot­ing only to die less than 10 min­utes from his home. “I want those bas­tards in Con­gress — they need to pass gun con­trol so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”

Many of the es­ti­mated 150 pa­trons at the Border­line dived un­der ta­bles, ran for ex­its, broke through win­dows or hid in the at­tic and bath­rooms, au­thor­i­ties and wit­nesses said.

“Un­for­tu­nately our young peo­ple, peo­ple at night­clubs, have learned that this may hap­pen, and they think about that,” the sher­iff said. “For­tu­nately it helped save a lot of lives that they fled the scene so rapidly.”

Matt Wen­ner­strom said he in­stinc­tively pulled peo­ple be­hind a pool ta­ble, and he and friends shielded women with their bod­ies af­ter hear­ing the shots. When the gun­man paused to reload, Wen­ner­strom said, he and oth­ers shat­tered win­dows with barstools and helped about 30 peo­ple es­cape.

A video posted on In­sta­gram af­ter the shoot­ing by one of the pa­trons shows an empty dance floor with the sound of win­dows shat­ter­ing in the back­ground. As a sil­hou­et­ted fig­ure comes through a door­way, the cam­era turns er­rat­i­cally and 10 gun­shots ring out.

“I looked him in his eyes while he killed my friends,” Dal­las Knapp wrote on his post. “I hope he rots in hell for eter­nity.”

BY THE NUM­BERS Dow Jones In­dus­tri­als: +10.92 to 26,191.22 Stan­dard & Poor’s: – 7.06 to 2,806.83 Nas­daq Com­pos­ite In­dex: – 39.87 to 7,530.88

IAN DAVID LONG

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