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California gunman was ex-Marine who might have suffered from PTSD, sheriff says

James Queally, Richard Winton, Alene Tchekmedyian, Sean Greene, Sarah Parvini, Brittny Mejia, Andrea Castillo and Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- A gunman who killed 12 people at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar was a former U.S. Marine who might have been suffering from PTSD, the Ventura County Sheriff said.

Ian David Long, 28, lived in Newbury Park, not far from the club where he threw smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of more than a hundred people.

Sheriff Geoff Dean said his department had several interactions with Long, including a call to his home in April for a complaint of disturbing the peace. Deputies at the time said was irate and acting irrationally, Dean said. They brought in mental health professionals to evaluate him, who concluded he did not need to be taken into custody.

Long was also the victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015, the sheriff said.

Long was dressed in black when he burst into the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country music-themed venue popular with college students, around 11:20 p.m.

The shooter was armed with a Glock 21.45-caliber handgun, Dean said. A source said he also had a "smoke device."

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The shooter drove his mother's car to the bar and did not say anything before opening fire, the source said.

Authorities said sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer entered the bar first and were met with gunfire from the suspect. Helus was shot several times and died at an area hospital early Thursday morning, according to Dean.

Helus, a 29-year Sheriff's Department veteran who was planning to retire next year, died "a hero," Dean said.

He is survived by a son and his wife, whom he called before entering the bar, Dean said.

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