Witnesses describe fatal shooting at California country music bar
Police identified 28-year-old Ian David Long as the suspect in the shooting at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar that left at least 13 dead, including the suspected gunman.
Sheriff Geoff Dean said police had “no idea” what the motive was for the shooting, which took place in at Borderline Bar and Grill during a crowded “college night” event.
“When the officers went in and made re-entry, they found him already deceased,” Dean said, according to ABC 6. “He was found inside an office just adjacent to the entry to the bar.”
Dean said Long was known to officers through a minor traffic collision and was a victim of a battery incident at a different bar. Dean also said they responded to an incident at his home in April.
In that incident, deputies were called to his home, where Dean said Long was acting “irrationally.” A crisis intervention specialist was called to his house and talked to him, but left without taking him into custody, Dean said.
Dean said Long was a Marine veteran, and said there was a chance he suffered from PTSD. Records indicate he was on duty from August 2008 to March 2013, CNN reported.
Long used a .45 caliber Glock handgun, which was purchased legally, Dean said. Long used an extended magazine for the weapon, Dean said. It’s unclear whether the magazine was legally purchased.
“We do not know how many rounds were in the weapon,” he said. “We don’t know if he reloaded his weapon or not, we’re still interviewing witnesses.”
Dean said the shooter reportedly shot at employees and security before turning on the crowd.
“It appears he walked up to the scene... He shot the security guard ... He stepped inside... It appears he turned to the right and shot several of the other security and other employees there ... then began opening fire inside the nightclub,” Dean said.
Police said he was a heavily tattooed white male who was not carrying any form of identification, according to NBC News.
Witnesses said a hooded gunman entered the building in dark clothing and shot the doorperson before shooting into the crowd of dancers shortly after 11 p.m., The Associated Press reported.
A sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Ron Helus, arrived at the scene with a California Highway Patrol officer and was shot multiple times, according to the AP. He died at the hospital.
“He went in there to try to save people,” Sheriff Dean said in a news conference.
Dean said the slain deputy was on the phone with his wife before telling her he had to go respond to a scene.
“We lost a hero,” he said.
Dean said in the news conference that some people who tried to escape the chaos by breaking windows might have been injured. Between eight and 15 people suffered minor injuries and one person was a gunshot wound, Dean said at the news conference.
“I was actually about to leave when you start hearing pop, pop, pop. It sounded like fireworks or something,” said witness John Hedge, according to NBC News. “My stepdad dove and took cover and yelled at me, ‘John, hit the deck! Hide!’ So I get down. And the gunman started opening fire on the cashiers, the people working the cash register on the front desk.”
President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and praised law enforcement officers for their response.
“I’m a Thousand Oaks resident,” 19-year-old Erika Sigman said, according to the LA Times. “This is a safe place. My parents let me go here. This is a trusted place ... to know that this happened in my safe place is a very, very scary thing. You just don’t expect it to happen in Thousand Oaks.”
The Sheriff’s Office set up a hotline for those who may be affected by the shooting, at 805-465-6650.