Mental HealthNews

 Ex-Marine killed 12 people in country music bar massacre had PTSD

The gunman who massacred 12 people at a country music bar in southern California on Wednesday night has been identified as an honorably discharged ex-Marine whose neighbors say he was plagued with PTSD and terrified his own mother. Ian David Long, 28, opened fire on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11.20pm on Wednesday during its weekly College Country Night where students from nearby schools line dance and listen to music.

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He threw smoke grenades to confuse the crowd and used a Glock .45 with an extended magazine to kill 11 people inside the bar, including: Sean Adler, 48; Cody Coffman 22; Blake Dingman, 23; Jake Dunham, 21; Alaina Housley, 18; Justin Meek, 23; Kristina Morisette; Telemachus Orfanos; and Noel Sparks.

Long then shot sheriff’s sergeant Ron Helus, a 54-year-old, 29-year veteran who was one of the first on the scene. He died in the hospital of multiple gunshot wounds.

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Between 10 and 15 people remain in hospital, some with severe injuries. The mayor has appealed for blood donations. Survivors used bar stools to smash windows to climb out of and some hid beneath pool tables. One woman ran into the kitchen and was told by staff to climb a ladder into the attic.

Before SWAT teams entered the building, Long took his own life in an office inside. He used a legally purchased .45 caliber handgun to carry out the attack and had modified its magazine so it could hold more rounds.  Long served in the Marines as a machine gunner for five years between 2008 and 2013, during which time he was decorated with 10 medals and toured Afghanistan.

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The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear but an unnamed US official told NPR he was ‘not a stellar marine’ and had been caught shoplifting in 2009 before he deployed. The official said he was honorably discharged.

Survivors from the shooting said he looked ‘like he knew what he was doing’ as he repeatedly fired his gun without saying a word. In April this year, deputies were called to the home he shared with his mother after neighbors heard loud crashes coming from inside.

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He was acting ‘irrationally’ and was ‘irate’ so police called in their mental health specialist but they cleared him, deciding against having him committed. Neighbors told on Thursday that his mother Colleen was ‘terrified’ he was going to harm himself or others.

It is unclear if he already owned the weapon he used to commit Wednesday’s attack or if he bought it after the April incident. Long has no criminal history except from a minor traffic infraction.

Long served in the Marine Corps for five years between 2008 and 2013 and he toured Afghanistan. He was a corporal at the time of his honorable discharge.

Long is pictured during a tour of Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011

Long is pictured during a tour of Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011

In a March 2017 post that was uncovered by CNN on the forum Shadowspear, he wrote: ‘I was honorably discharged in 2013.

‘I am graduating with a B.S. in Athletic Training in two months.

‘I found out a little too late that just wasn’t the job for me. Maybe the ego got the better of me but it took only one time for a 19 year old D-2 athlete to talk down to me and tell me how to do my job that I realized this wasn’t the career I wanted to head,’ he said of his departure.

Curtis Kellog, a friend who he served with, said Long had a ‘great sense of humor’ and was excited to return to southern California after leaving the military.

‘He had a great sense of humor and like most Marines who have seen combat it could get dark at times, just like all of us.

Like most Marines who have seen combat it could get dark at times, just like all of us, Curtis Kellogg, who served with Long

‘He was excited to get out so he could go back home, ride his motorcycle again and finish school,’ he toldClick 2 Houston. During his time in the Marines, he was decorated with numerous awards including two Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Combat Action Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal and the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

All are relatively common decorations. A spokesman for the Marines declined to give information surrounding his discharge in 2013, telling that they were bound by privacy laws and unable to reveal what prompted him to leave. They did offer condolences to the victims of Wednesday night’s shooting.

After leaving the Marines, he took a job with California State University Northridge where he attended classes as a student until 2016. Blake Winnett, who claims to have shared an apartment with him in 2014 while he was a student there, told The New York Post that he was a ‘loner’ who danced alone in their garage.

‘He didn’t want to help anyone do anything. He was just lazy I guess,’ he claimed, adding that he once responded:

‘That’s not my f****** job’ when Winnett asked him to take out the trash.

‘He wasn’t violent but he was mean. He would go to the gym and then he would, I guess, try to learn dance moves or something.

‘He would close the garage and be playing music and dancing in there, like sweating.

‘I would open the garage and would be like, “What are you doing?”‘ he said.

Long dropped out of the university in 2016 after three years. He had been studying athletic training. Sometime after dropping out of college, he returned to his mother’s home in Newbury Park. One neighbor told that his mother ‘lived in fear’ that something would happen to him.

Long’s mother Colleenn Long, 61, was spotted by being interviewed by FBI agents on Thursday.

She emerged from her house around 1.45pm and was shepherded into another red truck resembling the one the shooter used to drive to the Borderline Bar & Grill where he carried out the massacre. She and several officers left the house in a smart suburb of Newbury Park in a convoy of three trucks.