Tattooed ex-Marine who killed 12 had PTSD

  • Ian Long, 28, opened fire at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11.20pm on Wednesday night
  • He was dressed in all-black and used a legally owned .45 caliber handgun which had an extended magazine
  • Witnesses said he also let off smoke grenades inside to confuse the terrified crowds as they ran for their lives
  • In April, police and mental health specialists were called to Long's home after neighbors heard crashes coming from inside
  • They decided he was not qualified to be committed involuntarily and left him at home with his mother 
  • Neighbors told on Thursday that she lived 'in fear' he was going to harm himself  
  • Long served in the Marines for five years between 2008 and 2013 during which time he was given 10 medals and toured Afghanistan as a machine gunner
  • A US official said he was 'not a stellar marine' and claimed he was caught shoplifting in 2009 during a post  
  • After leaving the Marines, he spent three years studying athletic training at California State University Northridge but he dropped out in 2016
  • A college roommate of his said he was 'mean', a 'loner' and would often dance in their garage alone  
  • He killed himself on Wednesday in an office in the bar after killing 11 patrons and a sheriff's sergeant who responded 

The gunman who massacred 12 people at a country music bar in southern California on Wednesday night has been identified as an honorably discharged 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, including 22-year-old Cody Koffman and 23-year-old Justin Meek, 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.   

Long served in the Marines as a machine gunner for five years between 2008 and 2013, during which time he was awarded 10 medals and toured Afghanistan.

The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear but an unnamed US official told NPR he was 'not a stellar marine' and had been caught shoplifting in 2009 before he deployed. The official said he was honorably discharged.  

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 told on Thursday that his mother Colleen was 'terrified' he was going to harm himself or others.   

Ian Long, 28, is the gunman who opened fire on Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday. He served in the Marines and is shown in photographs taken before he left armed forces in 2013. The circumstances surrounding his departure are unknown . Neighbors say he suffered PTSD 


A shirtless man and two others carry an injured person out of the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night after Long opened fire at 11.20pm. Eleven people inside the bar were killed along with a cop who was one of the first on the scene. Long then took his own life in an office inside the building 

It is unclear if he already owned the weapon he used to commit Wednesday's attack or if he bought it after the April incident. Long has no criminal history except from a minor traffic infraction. 

Long served in the Marine Corps from 2008 until 2013. He is pictured during a tour of Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011 

Long served in the Marine Corps for five years between 2008 and 2013 and he toured Afghanistan . 

The circumstances of his departure 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. 

All are relatively standard issue. 

A spokesman for the Marines declined to give information surrounding his discharge in 2013, telling that they were bound by privacy laws and unable to reveal what prompted him to leave. 

After leaving the Marines, he took a job with California State University Northridge where he attended classes as a student until 2016.


2008: Long joins the Marines on August 4, 2008. He was 18 at the time.

Nov. 16, 2010 - Jun. 14, 2011: Deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom 

August 11, 2011: His rank is listed as Corporal after his tour 

2011-2013: His last known assignment was in the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, based out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. 

March 3, 2013: Long leaves the Marines. The circumstances are unknown. 

2013 - 2016: Long studies at the California State University Northridge and majors in athletic training 

Blake Winnett, who claims to have shared an apartment with him in 2014 while he was a student there, told The New York Post that he was a 'loner' who danced alone in their garage. 

'He didn’t want to help anyone do anything. He was just lazy I guess,' he claimed, adding that he once responded: 

'That's not my f****** job' when Winnett asked him to take out the trash. 

'He wasn’t violent but he was mean. He would go to the gym and then he would, I guess, try to learn dance moves or something.

'He would close the garage and be playing music and dancing in there, like sweating. I would open the garage and would be like, "What are you doing?"' he said.   

Long dropped out of the university in 2016 after three years. 

He had been studying athletic training. 

Sometime after dropping out of college, he returned to his mother's home in Newbury Park. 

One neighbor told that his mother 'lived in fear' that something would happen to him.  

After leaving the Marines, Long returned to California. The gunman is pictured in a 2014 picture with his mother (left) and (right) while studying at California State University Northridge where he last attended classes in 2016.  He dropped out of his athletic training major in 2016 after three years


Police are seen outside Ian David Long's home in Newbury Park, near Thousand Oaks, on Thursday morning. His mother's red truck was parked in the driveway beneath an American flag draped from the garage. Their home is 5.5miles from the bar where the attack took place 

Veteran identified as the gunman in California killing spree


DEAD - Cody Coffman: 

Cody Coffman's father Jason confirmed his 22-year-old son was among the 12 dead victims.

The distraught father rushed to the bar after hearing news of the shooting and calls to his son's cellphone went unanswered. Jason used a tracking app on his son's phone and it indicated the device was still inside the venue.

He said he spoke to his son just before he went to the bar Wednesday night. 

'The first thing I said was 'Please don't drink and drive.' The last thing I said was 'Son, I love you',' he said.

Cody had plans to go into the military and was speaking with U.S. Army recruiters. Jason said he was alerted to the shooting when several of Cody's friends started banged on their front door after 1am.

Cody Coffman

DEAD - Justin Meek:

Justin Meek was identified as one of the slain victims by his family and his former college.

The 23-year-old, who was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, worked at the bar where he was killed. 

Meek is believed to have heroically saved lives as the shooting unfolded, according to university president Chris Kimball. 


Justin Meek

DEAD -  Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus

Ventura County Sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus, 54, was first on the scene of the shooting on Wednesday night.

Helus was shot multiple times as he and a California Highway Patrol officer exchanged fire with the gunman inside the bar.

Ventura County Sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus 

He was a 29-year veteran of the department. He was speaking to his wife Karen when he received the call about a mass shooting. The last thing he said to her was: 'Hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call'.

DEAD - Alaina Housley:

Alaina, the niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband Adam Housley, also died in the shooting.

Her suitemate at Pepperdine University had earlier posted photos on Twitter saying that the freshman was missing. 

Alaina's Apple Watch and iPhone appeared to still show her location as inside the bar. She was at the bar with several friends who have all been accounted for.

MISSING - Jake Dunham:

The 21-year-old has not made contact with his parents in the hours after the shooting. He had gone to the bar to play pool with his friends, his father Ken Dunham told NBC Los Angeles.

'I keep calling it but there's no answer,' Ken said. 'It just keeps ringing out... he always answers his phone.'  

Alaina Housley (left) and Jake Dunham (right)

Richard Berge lived around the corner from alleged shooter Ian David Long and had taken care of the family's dogs. 

Berge, 77, said Long had smashed furniture and kicked in walls inside the family's house and that his mother, Colleen, was afraid the problem would escalate.

 She lived in fear in case something happened. He wouldn't get help. She was beside herself and didn't know what to do.

Neighbor Richard Berge, speaking of Long's mother   

'She lived in fear in case something happened,' Berge told 'He wouldn't get help. She was beside herself and didn't know what to do.'

He and other neighbors described an incident in April this year, when a neighbor called the police after hearing loud crashes coming from Long's house.

Berge said multiple police cars rushed to the home and found Long had kicked holes in the walls and broken furniture. 

Berge said that all the neighbors believed Long was suffering from PTSD. 

Berge described Colleen as a 'wonderful woman', and a 'very sweet lady'.

'She's a wonderful woman but she was just going through hell with her son. Now she's got to live with this.


Ventura County Sheriff Ron Helus, 54, was among those killed. He was shot multiple times by the gunman after responding to the first 911 calls and later died in hospital

Sgt Ron Helus, 54, of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office was speaking to his wife Karen when he received the call about a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night.

'He said, "Hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,' Sheriff Geoff Dean told the Los Angeles Times.

Helus and another officer from the California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the massacre at 11.23pm on Wednesday night - three minutes after the 911 call went out.

After hearing gunfire coming from inside the bar, which was occupied by nearly 200 college students, Helus rushed through the front door and confronted the shooter.

'They knew they had to take action and they went in and did what they had to do,' Dean said.

'Our officers know, when you get to a scene, and there's two of you, or even just one of you, and there's a shooting going on, you go in.'

Helus was shot several times and had to be pulled out of the line of fire by the CHP officer.

The sergeant was rushed to Los Robles hospital, where he died an hour later. Twelve people, includinG Helus, were shot and killed in the incident, and numerous others were wounded.

The gunman, who has since been identified as 28-year-old Ian Long, was also found dead inside the bar and is believed to have killed himself.

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and was planning to retire in the next year. Dean said he was 'totally committed' to his job and 'gave his all'.

'He knew the risks, but he knew, like we all do, why we serve,' he said. 'Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant. And tonight he died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people.'

Sheriff's Capt Garo Kuredijan called Helus an 'unbelievable man'. 'He was a lifetime learner, a trainer, a mentor, a leader,' he said. 'He was a cop's cop. His void is going to be felt throughout our agency.'

The father-of-one is survived by his wife Karen and son Jordan. Helus' Facebook profile is full of photos of the officer and his son hunting, fishing, and playing with their dog together. The family man referred to his son as 'my boy' in dozens of posts and spoke of how proud he was of Jordan. Helus had worked in the narcotics division of his department and was also on the SWAT team for many years. 

Another neighbor, June, told, she also recalled the incident in April.

'The only time I knew about him [Long] was in April when they had the police activity here. I thought "oh that's Colleen's son." 

'They had the police cars here, they came up to the house and interviewed him.' 

'Most of the people in the neighborhood have lived here forever, we've been here over 40 years,' she said. 'We're a quiet neighborhood.'

Tom Hanson, another neighbor, said it sounded like he was 'tearing down the walls with a hammer.' 

'It would start and then it would stop and then it would start and then it would stop and then it would get really loud and I hear this shouting. 

'I thought, "Man, what’s going on out here?"... I mean it's a quiet neighborhood. I didn't know if he was hurting himself,' he said. 

Hanson said that he 'assumed' he would get mental health treatment afterwards because police spent a while in the house. 

'I assumed he was getting some type of mental health treatment and follow-up on that. Since that time, there has not been any more of those types of problems here,' he said. 

Berge added that the family had been having trouble with their three German Shepherd dogs. Long's father David died at the age of 46 in 1999.  

The house was surrounded by police and FBI officers, and cordoned off with red crime scene tape by Thursday morning.

Officers were waiting Thursday morning for a judge to sign a warrant to search the home. Long's mother's red truck sat in the driveway. 

He used another vehicle of hers to get to the Borderline Bar and Grill. 

Long had modified his legally purchased handgun so that it could hold more rounds. 

'The handgun is designed to hold 10 rounds and one in the chamber. This weapon did have an extended magazine on it.

'We do not know at this time how many the magazine could actually hold because it's still being processed,' Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said on Thursday, adding he had 'no idea' what his motive for the attack was. 

The cop who was killed was one of the first on the scene.

He fearlessly ran into the bar alone after hearing the 911 call on his radio. 

Helus was on the phone to his wife at the time when the call came in. 

His last words to her were, 'Hon, I love you. I've go to go and take care of something.'  

In addition to the 12 he killed inside the Borderline Bar and Grill on Wednesday, '10 to 15' victims were injured. 

According to survivors, Long was dressed in all-black, wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses and a mask covering the bottom part of his face.

Sgt.Helus' widow stands behind his casket as it is taken out of the Los Robles Medical Center on Thursday morning 

Sgt. Herlus' body was driven in a procession on Thursday after the shooting. Hundreds of people lined its route to pay their respects

Mourners weep for Sgt. Ron Helus as his body is driven in a procession from the hospital where he was taken after the shooting 

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.  

EMTs treat a victim from the shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill on Wednesday. In addition to the 12 innocent people who were killed, another 12 at least were injured 

First responders and survivors tend to a wounded person after fleeing the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night 

The bar in Thousand Oaks attracts college students from a number of colleges including California Lutheran University, UCLA and Pepperdine. Both Pepperdine and Lutheran are Christian schools. Long's home is 5.5 miles away 

'The University has determined that multiple Pepperdine students were on site at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. At this time, the University is working to identify and provide support to those students.

A spokesman for California Lutheran University told 'The Cal Lutheran community is grieving over what happened last night. We know some of our students were there. 

President Trump praised the brave law enforcement who responded to the shooting on Twitter on Thursday morning 

'We are waiting for more information from law enforcement. We have canceled classes, but the campus is open and all offices will be open. Our chapel is open for anyone who wants to gather. ' 

They later confirmed student Justin Meek's death. 

Meek, 23, worked at the bar and died trying to save others' lives, they said. 

'The Cal Lutheran community is filled with sorrow over the violent events that took place last night a few miles from campus in Thousand Oaks.  

''Sadly, we have learned from the family that a recent graduate, Justin Meek, 23, is one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy. Meek heroically saved lives in the incident,' they said. 

On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted about the mass shooting, saying: 'I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California.

Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead.

'Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar. Great bravery shown by police. 

'California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement,.'

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said the scene was the worst he had seen in 41 years. 

Survivors of California music bar shooting seen hugging and crying

An injured man who appears to have been shot is rushed to safety at the Borderline Bar and Grill

Matt Wennerstorm stands outside Borderline Bar and Grill on Wednesday night after escaping from the gunfire (left). Relieved family members embrace their loved ones after 12 people were shot at the bar in Thousand Oaks, near California (right)

Some of the patrons who were under 21 are pictured holding one another outside the bar after escaping with their lives 

'It’s a horrific scene in there, there is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that, and I didn’t want to get that close and disturb the scene and possibly disturb the investigation. 

'This, by far, is the most horrific thing I've seen in my 41 years,' he said. Dean was due to retire on Thursday, the day after the shooting. 

He and Helus were friends and worked out together. 

Paying tribute to him, he said: 'Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriff's sergeant. 

'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.'  

The gunman used a Glock .45 pistol with an extended magazine that could hold more rounds. A file image of a unmodified version of the gun is shown 

Classes at California Lutheran, which is also nearby, were cancelled. 

People were hiding from the shooter in bathrooms and attic spaces, while others who managed to escape fled to nearby gas stations for medical help. Terrified dancers used bar stools to smash the windows so that they could climb out and flee. 

John Hedge said he was with his stepfather Tim Dominguez at the door preparing to leave the bar when Long entered and threw smoke grenades before pointing his gun at the cashier and opening fire.

Fighting back tears, Hedge, said he heard a series of 'big pops' as he and his stepdad were preparing to leave.

He said: 'There was probably three or four of them, I look up, the security guard's dead - I don't want to say dead but he was shot, he was down.

'The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place, I saw him point at the cash register and just keep firing.

'I run out the front door, I hear chairs being thrown out the window, people were trying to get out of the windows.

'And the gunman, he went behind the cash register, he kept... there were probably 12 shots before I got out the front door,' he went on.

Dominguez choked up as he told KABC: 'He shot the doorman, bouncer...just a young man. Then, he shot the cashier, just a young girl.'

 'All I wanted to do was get as many people out as possible. I know where I'm going when I die, so I was not worries to sacrifice myself.'

Survivor Matt Wennerstrom 

Dominguez expressed remorse over running for safety, instead of fighting back against the gunman.

'I should've stayed 'til he changed his clip, but I was worried about my boy,' Dominguez said choked up. 'I apologize to anybody who got hurt or passed.'

'He didn't say anything, he just started shooting,' he said. They said he said 'nothing' as he opened fire and was composed throughout the massacre. 

A visibly shaken student named Summer said the gunman 'was shooting everything, from the speakers to anything,' while another man Matt Wennerstrom said that while Long stopped to reload, he used a bar stool to smash a window and help 30 people run to safety.  

'I heard gunshots and knew right away what it was, I turned and saw a dark figure, and decided to get out of there as soon as I could,' he said.

Asked what made him decide to go back and help others, he added: 'Instinct, that's all that I could do. I had to protect my friends and family, my fellow humans.

'All I wanted to do was get as many people out as possible. I know where I'm going when I die, so I was not worries to sacrifice myself.' 

A reporter then pointed to blood on his sleeve, which he said 'isn't mine' and came from a man with a chest wound who they helped drag over to paramedics.

A women who was one of the people who went through the window tearfully credited Wennerstrom for saving her as she broke down describing the event. 'That's how we were able to get out,' she said with her face in her hands. 'They broke the window.'

Among those who survived were people who had also fled the Las Vegas country music shooting last October.  

More than 100 people, many of whom were students (pictured) as young as 18, were in the bar when the gunman opened fire

A survivor of a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, reels outside after escaping with his life 

Survivors wearing cowboy boots wrap themselves in a blanket after escaping the gunman on Wednesday night 

'I was just dancing normally and I heard what I thought was a balloon pop. I was confused then I heard it a couple more times then I turned around and I saw him. 

Pepperdine University confirmed that some of those inside were some of its students. It remains unknown if any of them were killed 

'I ran to the nearest exit and tripped and fell on the way I knocked on as many doors as I could until someone would answer me and finally someone did. 

'It was awful,' Taylor Von Molt, a promoter for the club, told CNN. 

She said the gunman's mask looked like a bandanna and was covering the bottom of his face. 

'He had a black mask, it looked like a bandanna, on the bottom of his face, sunglasses dark hoodie, dark jeans. He was kind of bigger, more burly. Scary,' the 21-year-old said. 

Teylor Whittler, another witness, said the gunman had 'perfect form' and 'looked like he knew what he was doing.' 

'I saw three people get shot by him. 

 He looked like he knew what he was doing. He had practiced, he had been shooting before,'

Witness Teylor Whittler  

'As soon as he walked in, he had perfect form. I'm born in a military family and I've been around guns my entire life so I know a bit about them.

'He looked like he knew what he was doing.

'He had practiced, he had been shooting before,' she told Fox News.  She added that while the bar was popular among students, it attracted patrons of all ages. 

'College students go there, high school seniors go there, elderly people go there. Everyone who loves country goes there,' she said. 

Witnesses (pictured sharing a blanket after escaping the tragedy) had to use chairs to smash the windows of the bar to escape

An FBI officer stands guard outside of the bar and debriefs distressed witnesses, some of who lost their shoes amidst the chaotic scenes

A young reveler is in a state of shock after fleeing with her life 

A young girl phones her loved ones to let them know she's safe, as her friend comforts and shares a blanket with her 

People comfort each other as they stand near the scene where 12 were slaughtered 

Survivors embrace after being told the coast was clear when the gunman turned the gun on himself

The bar (left on a normal night) is popular among country music and dancing fans. On Wednesday night, under 21s are allowed into enjoy the music and they are required to wear black X's on their hands 

Forensics teams work at the site of the shooting on Thursday morning

Among the survivors is a member of the Navy who led others out of the windows after smashing the windows with bar stools. 

'We heard a lot of screaming and we dropped to the ground. My friend is a DJ, she cut the music. 'My first instinct was to smash the window. We jumped out,' he told KTLA.  

Several minutes after the gunman opened fire, a SWAT team arrived and found the 11 victims dead inside. 

Several people are still unaccounted for including 22-year-old Cody Coffman whose father Jason flocked to the bar after he heard the news to find him.

Other parents have done the same and have used looked to their kids' iPhones locations to try to find them. Their devices are still inside the bar and they have not been heard from since the shooting happened.

'I want my son. I want to know. I'm not.. if the Lord took him away, we know that he's in a better place but if he's not, please let us know. Let me know.

'I am clueless on what's going on,' Cody's father Jason wept outside the bar.  

There were 100 people inside the bar when the gunman opened fire, police said, and the number of casualties is 'very likely' to go up. 

A heavily-armed Ventura County officer stands guard outside the country music festival wearing a helmet and body armopur, equipped with a pistol and an assault rifle

The officer directs members of the public away from the Borderline Bar and Grill while an investigation is carried out 

A sheriff deputy speaks to a potential witness as they stand near the scene (left) while officers inspect vehicles in the car park searching for the perpetrator's vehicle

Plain-clothed law enforcement officers guard the road leading to the Borderline Bar and Grill where 12 people were killed

Family and friends got out of bed and rushed to the scene still in their pajamas to make sure their loved ones were alive

California music bar shooting: 'I just heard...pop, pop, pop'

First responders arrive on the scene of the mass shooting at around 11.30pm after receiving 'shots fired' 911 calls from witnesses

One witness told ABC7: 'I was at the front door talking to my stepdad. I heard these big pops.

'There were three or four and I hit the ground. The security guard was dead and the man had a handgun. He threw in smoke bombs and he kept firing. People threw chairs out of the windows to try to get away.

'The gunman had glasses and a black jacket. He had a big hand gun.' 

Another witness said: 'This maniac came in. Threw in smoke to confuse people and opened fire on the dancefloor. He's taken many young lives.

Witnesses reported a horrifying scene as gunfire echoed through the club and those inside ran for cover, in some cases breaking windows with chairs and other pieces of furniture to get out of the building.  

Local hospitals have been inundated with victims who've transported themselves to emergency rooms with injuries seeking medical help.

One witness, who was at the bar with his step-son, described the sequence of events. He said:  'He shot the front doorman, who was just a young man.

'Then he shot the cashier, just a young girl. Then he started moving to the right. He wasn't looking at us. Then he went into the office, where all the cash and stuff is. 

'He didn't say anything at all. He just started shooting.'