Thousand Oaks gunman was a Marine veteran who often visited the site of the shooting

Updated 10:52 PM EST, Thu November 8, 2018
In this image made from aerial video, police vehicles line a road in the vicinity of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Authorities say there were multiple injuries _ including one officer _ after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday. (KABC via AP)
KABC via AP
In this image made from aerial video, police vehicles line a road in the vicinity of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Authorities say there were multiple injuries _ including one officer _ after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday. (KABC via AP)
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Friends hug outside the Los Robles Medical Center in Thousands Oaks, California on November 8, 2018, as they pay tribute to Ventura Country sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus who was killed in a shooting at Borderline Bar the night before. - The gunman who killed 12 people in a crowded California country music bar has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine, the local sheriff said Thursday. The suspect, who was armed with a .45-caliber handgun, was found deceased at the Borderline Bar and Grill, the scene of the shooting in the city of Thousand Oaks northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
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Friends hug outside the Los Robles Medical Center in Thousands Oaks, California on November 8, 2018, as they pay tribute to Ventura Country sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus who was killed in a shooting at Borderline Bar the night before. - The gunman who killed 12 people in a crowded California country music bar has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine, the local sheriff said Thursday. The suspect, who was armed with a .45-caliber handgun, was found deceased at the Borderline Bar and Grill, the scene of the shooting in the city of Thousand Oaks northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
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THOUSAND OAKS, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  Nellie Wong cries as Chyann Worrell holds her and Erika Sigman (R) were all inside when shooting started inside the Borderline Bar & Grill when a shooter wounded seven Wednesday night on November 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman burst into the bar around 11:20 p.m., cloaked in all black as he threw smoke bombs and began shooting at targets as young as 18 inside the Borderline Bar & Grill, authorities and witnesses said. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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THOUSAND OAKS, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Nellie Wong cries as Chyann Worrell holds her and Erika Sigman (R) were all inside when shooting started inside the Borderline Bar & Grill when a shooter wounded seven Wednesday night on November 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman burst into the bar around 11:20 p.m., cloaked in all black as he threw smoke bombs and began shooting at targets as young as 18 inside the Borderline Bar & Grill, authorities and witnesses said. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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People stand and watch as the scene unfurls from the intersection of US 101 freeway and the Moorpark Rad exit as police vehicles close off the area outside a country music bar and dance hall in Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles, where a gunman opened fire late November 7, 2018, killing at least 12 people, US police said. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP)        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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People stand and watch as the scene unfurls from the intersection of US 101 freeway and the Moorpark Rad exit as police vehicles close off the area outside a country music bar and dance hall in Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles, where a gunman opened fire late November 7, 2018, killing at least 12 people, US police said. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

Back in April, officers in Thousand Oaks, California, responded to a disturbance at the home where Ian David Long lived.

Long, a 28-year-old who served in Afghanistan with the Marines, was acting somewhat irate and a little irrationally, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.

A mental health specialist with the crisis team met with him and felt he might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But after speaking with him, they decided not to detain him under laws that allow for the temporary detention of people with psychiatric issues.

Seven months later, officers swarmed his home again for a very different reason: a mass shooting.

Long was identified by police on Thursday as the gunman who killed 12 people and injured more than a dozen more in a sudden burst of violence at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. Authorities have no motive yet.

Authorities have identified a Facebook post believed to have been made by the shooter around the time of the attack, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing investigation.

In it, the writer says: “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”

When CNN read the post to a friend of Long’s, who did not want to be publicly identified, the friend said, “That does not sound like Ian to me at all. I don’t know what was going through his head when he wrote this. It must have been terrible.”

Shooter began firing outside

Survivors of the shooting said the gunman, dressed in black and wearing glasses, shot a security guard outside and then shot a young woman working at the counter just inside the door before opening fire on others.

One of the victims, Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus, was fatally shot when he entered the bar and tried to stop the rampaging gunman, Dean said.

Police found Long dead of what Dean said he believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot.

One handgun, a legally purchased .45-caliber Glock, was at the scene. The gunman used an extended magazine in the shooting, Dean said.

He was a frequent visitor to the bar

On Thursday morning, Dean said he did not know of any connection between Long and the Borderline bar.

But Long’s friends told CNN he was there frequently.

Police identified Ian David Long as the gunman in the mass shooting.
Calfironia DMV
Police identified Ian David Long as the gunman in the mass shooting.

“We would go to Borderline together. He really liked it,” said one woman who has been friends with Long for five years and does not want her name made public.

“I would make fun of him, because he would drag me there. Sometimes we’d go there to have a drink, sit and talk, listen to music,” she said.

Borderline, a Western-themed establishment known to regularly host country, salsa and swing dancing nights, was hosting a college country night on Wednesday evening.

“There was a community there. He was a part of that community. The whole bar is line dancing. People do choreographed dances for hours, cowboy boots and hats in the middle of the suburbs of Thousand Oaks,” the friend said.

A person who was a friend of Long’s until their early 20s and who did not want their name revealed publicly similarly said they used to go to Borderline together. The friend expressed shock that Long could be a killer.

“I don’t know what the hell happened. He was always happy. I never thought this would ever come from him. We used to go snowboarding all the time. He was a good guy,” the friend said.

A third friend who did not want to be publicly identified said Long stopped communicating two years ago but said the shooting was unlike him.

“He wasn’t unhinged, he wasn’t violent. He was a sweet guy who served his country and was using his GI Bill to go to college and get a degree to help more people,” the friend said. “Out of our group of friends I thought the highest of him.”

Todd Stratton, who knew Long from high school, was at Borderline but didn’t get a good enough look to recognize the shooter.

He said Long had anger issues in school but it was nothing that concerned him.

He was in the Marine Corps

The gunman was a corporal in the Marines from August 2008 to March 2013, according to Defense Department records.

He went to Afghanistan from November 2010 to June 2011.

Thomas Burke, a pastor who served with Long in the same US Marine Corps regiment, said Long’s battalion arrived during intense fighting in Helmand province.

But Burke warned against too quickly blaming Long’s actions on trauma experienced during war.

“PTSD doesn’t create homicidal ideation,” Burke said. “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation, and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

Long posted information about his military service on a special forces forum called ShadowSpear in March 2017.

Under the name “doorkicker03,” Long said he was an infantry machine gunner while in the Marine Corps for 4½ years, and was an instructor in Okinawa in Japan.