Gunman Kills At Least 12 People in “Horrific” Thousand Oaks Shooting

The venue had been hosting a “college country night.”

Mark J. Terrill/AP

At least 12 people, including a veteran sheriff’s sergeant, were killed late Wednesday when a gunman opened fire inside a Thousand Oaks, California, bar that had been hosting a “college country night.”

Police on Thursday identified the suspected shooter as 28-year-old Ian Long. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters they had had several contacts with Long, including a 2015 bar incident in which Long was the victim of battery. In April, officials came to his house in response to a disturbance report. “He was somewhat irate,” Dean told reporters. “Acting a little irrationally. They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists who met with him, talked to him and cleared him.” (For more on the related work of threat assessment, read our deep-dive.)

A motive is unknown at this time.

Long was found dead inside the Borderline Bar & Grill when law enforcement officials subsequently arrived at the scene west of Los Angeles. Authorities estimate “hundreds” of people, most of whom were likely students from nearby colleges, were inside the venue when the shooting occurred.

“It’s a horrific incident,” Dean said at an earlier press conference. “It’s part of the horrors that are happening in our country and everywhere and I think it’s impossible to put any logic or any sense to the senseless.”

While holding back tears, Dean described Sgt. Ron Helus, the 29-year veteran officer killed in the shooting, as 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, because he went in to save lives, to save other people.”

In a heartbreaking interview, one witness told ABC7 that he saw the gunman firing into the crowd. “He didn’t say anything, at all. He just started shooting. I should have stayed till he changed his clip, but I was worried about my boy.”

“They’re all young,” he continued. “I’m 56, I’ve lived a life. They’re all young. This shouldn’t have happened to them.”

The New York Times reported that some of the bar patrons in Wednesday’s shooting said they had survived the country music festival shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people last year.

This is a breaking news post. We will update as more information is confirmed.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.