Last Thursday, early morning breaking news brought us the horrifying scenes out of Thousand Oaks, California, “a community that is annually listed as one of the safest cities in America,” the Associated Press reported, that a Marine combat veteran killed 12, plus one, people at the Borderline Bar and Grill the night before.
As the community remained in shock, investigators, and journalists and reporters, began to piece together for the nation the identity of the killer and what motivation he may have had for carrying out his rampage.
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.Associate Press; Nov 8 2018
Over the next couple days, as investigators identified Long and searched the house where he lived with his mother, reporters would speak with neighbors and find out that after “hearing frequently loud fights between Long and his mother, one of them so extreme they called the police in April.”
The authorities who responded “at that time” believed that Long “might have post-traumatic stress disorder,” but it was concluded there were insufficient grounds to have Long involuntarily committed by the mental health specialist who evaluated him at that time.
Another AP report says that one neighbor described Long “as an introvert,” and had concerns because, he said, “I knew he had been in the military.” Another neighbor described an incident some 18 months ago hearing “an awful argument” and “what he believes was a gunshot,” but while he did not call the cops, he said he “avoided speaking” to Long, telling his wife to, “just be polite … just acknowledge him, don’t go into conversation with him.”
By Friday afternoon, the AP reported other details about Long’s life. He enlisted in the Marines at 18 in 2009, and according to his military records, was married at 19. They separated after two years in 2011. Long was honorably discharged at the rank of corporal after 5 years’ service and two months later Long and his estranged wife filed for divorce.
“The Marine Corps said Long earned several awards, including a Combat Action Ribbon and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.”
The Pentagon said Long was “part of the infantry, responsible for hauling and shooting machine guns.”
Investigators, the AP further reports, were looking into whether one apparent motive could have been that Long may have ‘believed his former girlfriend would be at the bar,” according to a source briefed on the investigation.
Local news ABC7 reported Friday authorities told them their preliminary investigation indicated that Long, after entering the bar “immediately shot a group of security guards and employees standing near the entrance, and then paused to text or post messages on social media.”
Long, after this pause, then turned, “and began shooting victims on the dance floor.”
Documents obtained by ABC News show Long posted on social media at 11:24 p.m. saying, “It’s too bad I won’t get to see all the illogical and pathetic reasons people will put in my mouth as to why I did it. Fact is I had no reason to do it, and I just thought… fuckit, life is boring so why not?”
Then, at 11:27 p.m., he posted, “I hope people call me insane (2 smiley face 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… (2 more smiley face emojis).ABC7; Nov 9 2018
Warning: Video may be disturbing to some viewers.
But the warning signs were there before Long entered the military. According to the AP, Dominique Colell, a track coach where Long attended high school said “she had run-ins with then-sprinter Ian David Long that convinced her that he was “mentally disturbed” and had “anger issues” before he left to join the U.S. Marine Corps.”
Colell said she “was afraid” of Long while he was a student, that he “grabbed her rear and midsection after she refused to return a cellphone he said was his,” and that when she tried to “kick him off them team” for his behaviors, “the boy’s coach urged her to reconsider because that could compromise his goal of joining the Marines.”
Last last night, the Associated Press reported, “a second high school coach of the gunman who killed 12 people at a Southern California bar recalled him on Sunday as volatile and intimidating, and said that repeated complaints to school administrators about his behavior failed to prompt any discipline.”
Long was on the track team at Newbury Park High in 2007-2008. Evie Cluke, along with Dominique Colell, coached Long. In an interview with the AP, Cluke said Long “was a ‘ticking time bomb’ who constantly lost his temper, threw tantrums and would scream at coaches when he didn’t like their decisions.” She witnessed the assault on coach Colell.
Another time, he used his hand to mimic shooting her, Colell said, adding that she feared for herself whenever she was around him.
Cluke said she also witnessed Long pretending to shoot Colell.
“When Dominique turned around and saw that, she turned pale as a ghost and it was very, very scary.” Cluke said. “Just sadistic. … He was out of control. He would scream and cuss and his face would turn bright red and people would actually back away from him.”Associated Press; Nov 12 2018
Cluke said Colell did kick Long off the track team, but that the head coach “told her she didn’t have that authority,” and reversed Colell’s decision and that the “now retired principal brushed it aside as a one-time incident.”
Long made apologies “in front of several coaches and administrators” and was allowed to rejoin the team.
Cluke described that she, Colell, and also her father who was a track coach at that time, reported Long’s behaviors “to no avail.”
“You need to do something about this kid. He needs some help.” Cluke said she told administrators. “And they’re like, ‘Well, he’s got a good heart he’ll be fine. Just talk to him.’”
When Cluke and her father decided to sit down and talk with Long they asked him, “why he wanted to join the military.” Cluke said that Long’s answer, “is burned in my soul.”
“He said he wanted to be in the Marines because he wanted to go fight in the war for our country and he wanted to kill for our country,” she said. “When you hear somebody say they want to be in the military because they want to kill people in the name of our country, that’s chilling. It chilled me right down to my bones.”
She said it’s time for school administrators across the country to take behavioral problems seriously.
“It’s not the military or video games or music that causes this,” she said. “It’s the inaction of people in authority.”Associated Press; Nov 12 2018
“The warning signs were there.”