The gunman who massacred 12 people at a country music bar in southern California on Wednesday night has been identified as an ex-Marine.
Ian Long, 29, opened fire on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11.20pm. Long had been cleared by mental health experts after an incident in his home in April, sheriffs revealed on Thursday morning.
He killed 11 people inside the bar and one of the first cops on the scene before taking his own life.
Survivors from the shooting said he looked ‘like he knew what he was doing’ as he repeatedly fired his legally purchased Glock .45 handgun.
As dozens ran for their lives, hid beneath pool tables and used bar stools to shatter the windows to escape, Long continued firing and also threw smoke grenades to confuse the crowds.
When the first police officers arrived at the scene three minutes later, Long shot one of them multiple times before shooting himself.
By the time SWAT teams arrived, he was dead. His body was found in an office inside the bar. The sheriff’s sergeant who was shot later died in hospital. He was Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran.
In total, 13 are dead; 11 people inside the bar, the sheriff’s sergeant and the gunman. Long is a former Marine who lived in nearby Newbury Park.
In April this year, deputies were called to his home amid reports of a disturbance. He was acting ‘irrationally’ and was ‘irate’ so police called in their mental health specialist. They cleared him, deciding against having him committed, and left him at the home.
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Ian Long, 29, is the gunman who opened fire on Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday
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 a gunman opened fire at 11.20pm
It is unclear if he already owned the weapon he used to commit Wednesday’s attack or if he bought it afterwards.
Police said on Thursday morning that the weapon had been modified by Long to hold more rounds.
Details of Long’s service in the Marine Corps have not yet been released. He is pictured during a tour, reportedly in Afghanistan
‘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,’ sheriff Geoff Dean said.
In addition to the 12 people he killed, ’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.
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.
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
Ventura County Sheriff Ron Helus was among those killed. He was shot multiple times by the gunman after responding to the first 911 calls and later died in hospital
‘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 DailyMail.com: ‘The Cal Lutheran community is grieving over what happened last night. We know some of our students were there.
‘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. ‘
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.
President Trump praised the brave law enforcement who responded to the shooting on Twitter on Thursday morning
‘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.’
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.
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
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
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
Witnesses said the gunman said ‘nothing’ as he opened fire and was composed throughout the massacre.
‘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. 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 witnesses a gunman fire at least 30 rounds at a crowd of country music fans
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 a gunman threw smoke bombs and fired a pistol with extended magazines
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
Jason Coffman holds up a photograph of his son Cody, 22, whose phone is still pinging inside the bar. He has not heard from him since the shooting
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
Police respond after a gunman opened fire at the country music venue in the city of Thousand Oaks, California
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.’