The gunman who massacred 12 people at a country music bar in southern California on Wednesday night has been identified as an ex-Marine whose neighbors say he was plagued with PTSD and terrified his own mother.
Ian Long, 28, opened fire on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11.20pm on Wednesday night during its weekly College Country Night where students from nearby schools line dance and listen to music.
He used a Glock .45 which had an extended magazine to kill 11 people inside the bar after opening fire on the bouncer and throwing smoke grenades among the crowds to confuse them as they tried to flee.
Long then shot a sheriff’s sergeant who was one of the first on the scene. The 54-year-old sergeant, Ron Helus, died in the hospital afterwards.
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.
According to survivors, Long was dressed in all-black, wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses and a mask covering the bottom part of his face.
He walked up to the entrance at 11.20pm and shot the bouncer before making his way into the venue.
He then shot a young female cashier before throwing smoke grenades onto the dance floor and letting off rounds into the crowd.
Survivors described how he carried the attack out with careful precision and said he had ‘perfect form’ when shooting.
The bar is popular with college kids because it allows under 21s in on Wednesday nights.
Those who were not old enough to drink had black X’s stamped on their hands. Pepperdine University confirmed on Thursday morning that some of its students were among those in the bar. It is unclear if they were among those killed.
Long served in the Marines for five years between 2008 and 2013, during which time he was awarded 10 medals and toured Afghanistan.
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.
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 say that his mother Colleen was ‘terrified’ he was going to harm himself or others.
Long has no criminal history except from a minor traffic infraction.
The circumstances of his departure from the military are not known, but he climbed to the rank of Corporal before he left the armed forces.
During his time in the Marines, he was awarded 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.