Gunman who killed 12 at California bar identified as Ian David Long

Gunman who killed 12 at California bar identified as Ian David Long

Marine combat veteran kills 12 in rampage at California bar

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — 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.

Video: 13 dead including gunman after California bar shooting

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.

WATCH First Responders at Crime Scene After Dramatic California Bar Shooting

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.

Another victim was Alaina Housley, the niece of Tamera Mowry-Housley, an actress and daytime Emmy winner for the talk show The Real, and Adam Housley, a former Fox News correspondent, USA Today reported.

12 killed by gunman in Southern California bar

The dead included a man who had survived last years massacre in Las Vegas, a veteran sheriffs 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.

At least 13 people were killed, including a sheriffs deputy and the suspect, police said. Thousand Oaks is a mid-size city about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

“Its a horrific scene in there,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in the parking lot. “Theres 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.

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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 high-rise hotel killed 58 people.

BREAKING: Massive police response to shooting after gunman opens fire at the bar, Borderline, in Thousand Oaks, CA. At least “half-a-dozen” people and a sheriffs deputy were wounded, according to an officer with the Ventura County Sheriffs office.pic.twitter.com/q8jyGRqMAO

“I dont want prayers. I dont 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 doesnt 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.

Scene near the #Borderline country and western bar in #ThousandOaks where a shooting incident with multiple victims is reported. Sheriff’s deputies say “active shooter” still in the area. pic.twitter.com/C2HNeqRel4

Sheriffs Sergeant Among 12 Killed In Southerm California Bar Shooting; Gunman Also Dead – Update

“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. He heard another volley of shots once he was safely outside.

“All I wanted to do was get as many people out of there as possible,” he told KABC-TV. “I know where Im going if I die, so I was not worried.”

The Los Angeles Times said Long had been armed with a Glock .45-caliber handgun and a smoke device, and fired at least 30 shots, citing a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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.

Roads surrounding the bar where the shooting took place have been blocked off as authorities, including local police and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, comb through the crime scene.

“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.”

The tragedy left a community that is annually listed as one of the safest cities in America reeling. Shootings of any kind are extremely rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Los Angeles, just across the county line.

Mourners gathered for a vigil on Wednesday evening as smoke from a fast-moving, nearby wildfire billowed over them.

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Gunman kills 12 including deputy in crowded California bar

Earlier, people stood in line for hours to give blood. All morning, people looking for missing friends and relatives arrived at a community center where authorities and counselors were informing the next-of-kin of those who died. Many people walked past TV cameras with blank stares or tears in their eyes. In the parking lot, some comforted each other with hugs or a pat on the back.

Jason Coffman received the news that his son Cody, 22, who was about to join the Army, was dead. Coffman broke down as he told reporters how his last words to his son as he went out that night were not to drink and drive and that he loved him.

"A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here," he said, referring to the mass shooting last year in Las Vegas. "There's people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice."

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

Hundreds of people were inside the venue for "college country night" when shots rang at around 11:20 p.m. The shooter was dead inside the bar, police said. It was unclear how he died.

Democratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first public appearance since winning office on Tuesday, lamented the violence that has returned to California.

Chandler Gunn, 23, of Newberry Park, called a friend who works at the Borderline Bar & Grill, who was also at Route 91 in Las Vegas, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“Its a gun culture,” he said. “You cant go to a bar or nightclub? You cant go to church or synagogue? Its insane is the only way to describe it. The normalization, thats the only way I can describe it. Its become normalized.”

Some survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting were inside the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., when a gunman opened fire just before midnight on Wednesday, killing 12.

President Donald Trump praised police for their “great bravery” in the attack and ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.

When the gunman entered the bar, Cole said he saw him out of the corner of his eye, but didnt notice anything in particular. “The first shot went off, I thought it was somebody playing a prank, but immediately I looked at him and he continued shooting,” he said. 

Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus Died A Hero In California Shooting

Authorities searched Longs home in Newbury Park, about 5 miles from the Borderline bar, for clues to what set him off.

Tim Dominguez was at the bar with his son. After the gunfire erupted, the two fled out the door, running to their car, Dominguez told CBS News. As he ran, Dominguez said he noticed an officer pulling up and charging into the bar, toward the gunfire. 

Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus Died A Hero In California Shooting

“Theres no indication that he targeted the employees. We havent found any correlation,” the sheriff said. “Maybe there was a motive for this particular night, but we have no information leading to that at all.”

“I believe thats the [sheriffs sergeant] that lost his life,” Dominguez said. “I want to say I am so sorry for his family.  He was a brave man to come into the shots because it was a scary situation for everyone, it really was.”

Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11 before he was honorably discharged, the military said. Court records show he married in 2009 and was divorced in 2013.

Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus died responding to the incident at Borderline Bar & Grill, Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters. A 29-year veteran of the force, he had been looking to retire in the “next year or so,” Dean said.

Authorities said he had no criminal record, but in April officers were called to his home, where deputies found him angry and acting irrationally. The sheriff said officers were told he might have PTSD because of his military service. A mental health specialist met with him and didnt feel he needed to be hospitalized.

“Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriffs sergeant,” he added, his voice cracking with emotion. “He was totally committed, he gave his all and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero; he went into save lives, to save other people.”

Tom Hanson, 70, who lives next door to Long and his mother, said he called the police about six months ago when he heard “heavy-duty banging” and shouting coming from the Longs home.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20 p.m. at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.   

“Somebody has missed something here,” his wife, Julie Hanson, said. “This woman has to know that this child needed help.”

Sheriffs Deputy Ron Helus Died a Hero Trying to Stop Thousand Oaks Shooting

Long was armed with a Glock 21, a .45-caliber pistol designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber, according to the sheriff. But it had an extended magazine — one capable of holding more ammunition — that is illegal in California, Dean said.

Authorities have identified the suspect in a mass shooting at a Southern California bar as 28-year-old Ian David Long, who is believed to have killed himself late Wednesday.

Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman arrived at the club around 11:20 p.m. in response to several 911 calls, heard gunfire and went inside, the sheriff said. Helus was shot immediately, Dean said.

The bar's website says its hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.

The highway patrolman pulled Helus out, then waited as a SWAT team and other officers arrived. Helus died at a hospital.

Dean says around 10 other people were shot and wounded. No other information on the victims was immediately known.  

By the time officers entered the bar again — about 15 to 20 minutes later, according to the sheriffs office — the gunfire had stopped. They found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman, who was discovered in an office, the sheriff said.

“Theres no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect,” said Dean, who was set to retire Friday. He praised the slain officer — a close friend — as a hero: “He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price.”

Some at California bar shooting survived the Las Vegas mass shooting, report says

One other person was wounded by gunfire, and as many as 15 others suffered minor injuries from jumping out windows or diving under tables, authorities said.

For several hours after the violence, survivors gathered in the dark, some sobbing and hugging as they awaited word on the fate of friends as ambulances idled nearby. Several men were bare-chested after using their shirts to plug wounds and tie tourniquets.

Around midday, the body of the slain sheriffs officer was taken by motorcade from the hospital to the coroners office. Thousands of people stood along the route or pulled over in their vehicles to watch the hearse pass.

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, choking back tears.

AP journalists Andrew Dalton, Amanda Lee Myers, John Antczak and Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.


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