Investigations

Former Marine Identified as Homicidal Gunman at Country Music Bar Massacre

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(Screenshot Fox News broadcast)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A former Marine has been identified as the man responsible for the massacre at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks. He was armed with a Glock .45-caliber handgun as he opened fire on a packed house Wednesday night, killing 12 people, reported Fox News.

Among the dead was a veteran sheriff’s sergeant nearing retirement, LET reported earlier. Sgt. Ron Helus died rushing in to stop the homicidal gunman.

country music bar
Sgt. Ron Helus was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire inside Borderline Bar & Grill. (Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)

“Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriff sergeant,” Sheriff Geoff Dean said while holding back tears. “He was totally committed. He gave his all. And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives. To save other people.”

former marine
Sheriff Geoff Dean briefs the press following the mass shooting at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks. (Screenshot Fox News broadcast)

Ian David Long eventually turned the gun on himself, but not before the 28-year-old, dressed in all black, terrorized a crowd filled with college students at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif, according to Fox News.

Sheriff Dean, who is set to retire on Friday, said Long may have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and was known to law enforcement officials due to several unspecified contacts stretching back multiple years. Details of his military service were not provided.

Dean said the last interaction between Long and authorities occurred in April, when police officers were called to Long’s house after reports of a disturbance. When they arrived, officers found Long “irate and acting irrationally,” leading to a crisis intervention team being summoned. Officials on the scene at the time, however, said they didn’t feel Long was qualified to be taken into custody.

Long opened fire inside Borderline about 11:20 p.m., during the bar’s “college country night” event, authorities said.

About 100 to 150 people, including students from California Lutheran University, private Christian school Pepperdine and California State University Channel Islands, were inside Borderline when Long tossed a smoke device into the crowd and then, amid the confusion, fired at least 30 shots.

Deputies and highway patrol officers arrived at the bar within minutes of receiving multiple 911 calls and began assessing the grim, gruesome situation, Sheriff Geoff Dean said during an earlier Thursday news conference.

“It is a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere,” Dean said.

Ron Helus
(Graphics courtesy Rose Borisow GrafX)

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