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Ian Long has been identified as the black-clad ex-Marine with mental health troubles who opened fire at a crowded college bar in Thousand Oaks, California, killing at least 12 and wounding many more, in a horrific scene in which people hid in bathrooms and smashed windows to try to escape.
The shooting happened at Borderline Bar & Grill, a country music-themed restaurant in Ventura County. It was “College Country Night” at the bar, a weekly event.
Some news outlets said the suspect was David Ian Long, but the sheriff identified him as Ian David Long. The victims have not yet been named by authorities. The shooter was “Ian David Long, birthday March 27, 1990. He was 28-years-old,” the Ventura County Sheriff said.
The white male from California died of a gunshot wound at the scene. According to NBC News, the shooter drove his mother’s vehicle to the bar. Police later said they weren’t sure whom the car was registered to, though. Police said the gunman was “heavily tattooed,” but did not provide details about the tattoos, which were used to identify him along with fingerprints, NBC News reports.
“I was thinking that might be the last day of my life. I was just hoping not to get killed,” one witness told KTLA-TV of the shooting, which unfolded in the late evening hours of November 7, 2018. He was eventually rescued by the SWAT team. A woman in the neighborhood described how young people, most ages 18 or 19, “were running everywhere.” Blood covered the sidewalks, and witnesses described how they hid in the bathroom.
The shooting was first reported just before 11:30 p.m. local time at the restaurant located at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive in Thousand Oaks. The bar was hosting the weekly “College Country Night” when the gunfire broke out. The victims include Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ron Helus, who responded to the shooting and was labeled a hero for giving his life to save those of others.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shooter Was a Former Marine With a Recent Mental Health Eval for Acting ‘Irate’ at His Home
Ian Long was a former Marine. The Ventura County sheriff confirmed in a news conference that Ian David Long had a military background, saying, “He is a veteran. He was in the United States Marine Corps.” According to TMZ, Ian Long served in Afghanistan. You can see more of photos of Ian Long here. A relative filled her Facebook page, which Heavy has reviewed, with pictures of her son in military uniform.
With one photo of many military men standing in camouflage with large weapons, a friend commented, that Ian was “the
one with the big gun bahahahahaaaa.” Another woman wrote on the thread, “Ian looks good! So grateful for all he does for our country! x0x0.”
There were mental health troubles apparent in the shooter’s background.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in a news conference that the gun was “legally purchased” and described it as a “Glock 21 .45 caliber. Designed to hold a magazine of 10 rounds and one in the chamber. He had an extended magazine on it.”
The sheriff said that there were “several contacts” with David Long over the years. In April, an incident occurred in which David Long was described by a neighbor as screaming and banging on the walls in the home where he lived, NBC reported. A neighbor called 911 in April thinking that Long was violent and possibly trying to hurt himself. The April incident required the crisis intervention team at the scene, the sheriff said.
The sheriff described Long as irate, irrational, and said he might have been suffering from PTSD from his military background. Although mental health professionals evaluated him, they did not take him into custody, the sheriff revealed in a news conference.
“We’ve had several contacts with Mr. Long over the years…. In April of this year, deputies were called to his house for a subject disturbing. They went to the house they talked to him. He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally,” the Ventura County sheriff said. “They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists.”
The sheriff said those specialists “met with him, talked to him, cleared him. They didn’t feel he was qualified to be taken” into custody. “He was left at that scene last April.” He added, “The mental health experts cleared him that day.”
It’s not clear whether the gunman committed suicide. “It’s well too early to know if he took his own life,” the sheriff said. He did not have further details on Ian Long’s service record. The sheriff said he was found dead “inside an office just adjacent to the bar.”
A witness told KABC-TV that the gunman entered the bar and threw a smoke grenade before opening fire. The witness told the news station he saw a security guard get shot before the witness ran away from the shooting.
“If the Lord took him away, he’s in a better place,” a distraught father, Jason Coffman, told KTLA-TV, seeking news about his son, Cody Coffman, 22, who was inside the bar.
“It takes an evil, cold” person to walk in and shoot people so emotionally, one man at the scene told KTLA, describing how his friends broke windows and helped people escape.
According to ABC News, “Law enforcement say the shooter is a white man in his late 20s who lived in the area. The weapon was a 45 caliber Glock and was legally obtained.” David Ian Long was described by the Los Angeles Times as wearing a “black shirt, black hat and black glasses.”
KTLA reports that Ian Long targeted a female working as a cashier in the establishment where many people knew each other and would come regularly to learn line dancing.
“I was at the front door and I was talking to my stepdad. I just started hearing these big pops,” John Hedge told KABC. “Pop, pop, pop. There was probably three or four, I hit the ground. I look up – the security guard is dead. Well, I don’t want to say he was dead, but he was shot. He was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back of the cash register…and he just kept firing. I ran out the front door.”
Hedge’s stepfather, Tim, told the news station, “He fired the first shot. I knew it was live. I knew it was real. My son thought it was a joke so I pulled him down and got some cover. I looked up and he was moving to the right. He shot the front doorman, who was just a young man. Then he shot the cashier, just a young girl. Then he started moving to the right. He wasn’t looking at us. Then he went into the office, where all the cash and stuff is. He didn’t say anything at all. He just started shooting.”
2. Ian David Long Was a Dodgers Fan Who Lived With His Mother & the Sergeant Who Died Was Hailed as a Hero
Some biographical details on Ian David Long were coming out. Despite the disturbing April incident, his neighbor told NBC News that Long was a Dodgers baseball fan and had girlfriends over the years.
Long lived with his mother, according to multiple news reports. He was from Newbury Park, according to The Los Angeles Times. Deputies were seeking a search warrant to do a “thorough search of the house,” the sheriff said.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Garo Kuredjian, deputies responding to the scene heard gunfire and rushed toward the shots. The deputies came under heavy fire and one was wounded. One woman in the neighborhood told KTLA that the officers were heroes who “didn’t know what they were running into.” She said the deceased deputy took the bullet “for one of those kids.”
An official told The San Diego Union-Tribune at least 30 shots were fired during the incident at the bar. It is not yet clear what kind of gun the shooter was using.
“He shot a lot, at least 30 times. I could still hear gunshots after everyone left,” an unnamed witness told the Los Angeles Times.
A witness told KABC-TV that the gunfire was “constant” until the shooter “changed clips.” The witnesses told the news station the gun appeared to be a handgun. Other witnesses described it as a “submachine gun” or “Uzi” with an extended magazine.
Sergeant Ron Helus was killed in the shooting. Helus, a 54-year-old father and husband, worked in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office for 29 years and was one year away from retirement. The sheriff said the slain deputy had told his wife he loved her in a phone call shortly before leaving for the scene. You can read more about him at the link below:
3. A Witness Said the Shooter, Who Used a .45 Caliber Handgun, Had ‘Perfect Form’ & Reloaded Quickly
A witness who said she had experience with guns because her father is in the military told reporters the shooter had an extended magazine on his gun and quickly reloaded it at least once, possibly twice. She said the gunman quickly reloaded and had “perfect form” while shooting.
Long had previously been the victim of a battery in 2015 at a bar in the area, the sheriff said. He also had some minor traffic incidents.
Other witnesses said the gunman was wearing all black, possibly in a trench coat, and with a baseball hat and ski mask partially covering his face. “He just pulled out a gun and shot my friend that was working the front desk,” said Holden Harrah, 21, to The Los Angeles Times.
“We don’t know if he reloaded his weapon or not,” the sheriff said. “He shot the security guard that was standing outside. He stepped inside. He turned to the right and shot several of the other security and employees there, and then began opening fire inside the nightclub.”
Parents rushed to the scene seeking news of their loved ones.
Police said one gun, a Glock .45-caliber handgun, was found at the scene. Horrific stories emerged. “A father of someone believed to be in attendance at Borderline Bar during mass shooting tells KTLA-TV his daughter’s Apple Watch is still pinging her location as inside the bar,” reported
4. Ian Long’s Motive Is Not Yet Known & Some People in the Bar Survived the Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Police have not released any details about the gunman’s motive.
“We have no idea what the motive was at this point,” said the sheriff, adding that there is no evidence that the shooter “targeted” any employees or other people in the bar.
“He was wearing a black sweater,” he confirmed.
State, local and federal authorities are investigating the shooting. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the FBI and the ATF were all at the scene.
A procession with Sgt. Helus’s body was arranged in his honor. “He died a hero because he went, he went in to save lives, to save other people’s lives,” said the Ventura County Sheriff in a news conference.
The Los Angeles Times reported that terrorism does not appear to be the motive. The gunman said nothing as he fired, the newspaper reported.
According to The New York Times, a group of people in the bar – who survived the attack – had also survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada at a concert outside the Mandalay Bay.
5. The Shooting Happened During a College Night With Hundreds of Students in the Bar
The country music-themed bar is located near the 101 Freeway off Moorpark Road. The college night begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. every Wednesday, according to the bar’s website. Witnesses said there were hundreds of people inside the bar. Many fled from the bar when gunfire erupted, some jumping through windows after patrons broke the glass with chairs. Others hid in bathrooms and an attic area. Bloodied survivors fled to a gas station and a nearby bar.
Several colleges are located near the bar, including California Lutheran University, Pepperdine University and Moorpark College. The popular restaurant is 18 and over on college nights, according to the bar’s website.
According to its website, the bar has been open in Thousand Oaks since 1993, after originally opening in Malibu. It describes itself as being the “Largest Country Dance Hall & Live Music Venue” in Ventura County, with 2,500 square feet of dance floor. The bar also has pool tables, games, TVs and hosts live music and dance lessons.
“I thought it was a joke when the shots started firing. I know people there. I hope everybody’s OK. I don’t know how I didn’t get shot,” John Hodge told KABC. His stepfather, Tim, said young people were enjoying the night in the bar when the “just having a great time when this maniac came in and started shooting people for no reason at all. These people have never hurt anybody in their lives and they’re just kids, they’re just kids.”
Witnesses have said many people at the bar also attended the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017, where 58 people were killed and 851 were injured during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Garo Kuredjian said it has been a long time since shots were fired in the city. He said it is a safe area and a shooting is very unusual there. In March 2018, Business Insider called Thousand Oaks the third-safest city to live in in the U.S. Thousand Oaks is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.