A dozen people including a Ventura County, Calif., sheriff’s sergeant, are dead in a mass shooting at a country music bar in southern California, in which the presumed mass murderer took his own life as law enforcement responded.
California is a state with some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. The handgun used was reportedly legally purchased in Ventura County, and in California, that requires a waiting period and background check. The gun was identified as a .45-caliber Glock 21 pistol with an extended magazine.
According to the Daily Mail, the shooting occurred at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday night in Thousand Oaks, a Los Angeles suburb. The alleged murderer is among the dead. Published reports have named the suspected killer as 29-year-old Ian David Long, a Marine Corps veteran who, according to The Independent, “may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” He apparently took his own life. Authorities are still
“Police said he was an ex-Marine who had multiple run-ins with law enforcement in recent years and likely shot himself Wednesday night in the bar,” The Independent reported.
The Independent added that “the suspect also had prior run-ins with the police, including a traffic incident and another time in which he was the victim of a battery at a bar.”
Reports say he was a heavily-tattooed white man and that he “drove his mother’s car to the bar to carry out the attack.” He apparently also threw at least one smoke grenade into the bar.
Witnesses at the Borderline Bar & Grill have described the suspected mass killer as dressed all in black with a mask of some sort covering his lower face when he came inside. A security guard at the door was the first person shot.
By no small amount of irony, this shooting came about 27 hours after voters in Washington State passed a sweeping gun control measure that was sold to the public as a means of preventing mass shootings. Cynical critics of Initiative 1639 have been asserting for several weeks that this new measure will not likely prevent a single violent crime, either.
The Second Amendment Foundation has announced it will challenge the initiative, and will be joined by the National Rifle Association.
One tenet of the restrictive new Washington law is a ten-day waiting period on the purchase of a so-called “semiautomatic assault rifle,” and an “enhanced background check.” If Thousand Oaks demonstrates anything – same as the attack in Santa Barbara more than four years ago by Elliot Rodger – it is that waiting periods are no guarantee of violent crime prevention. Rodger had three handguns, all purchased legally in California, which means he passed multiple background checks. He killed six people, three by stabbing them to death, and three more by gunfire. All of his pistol magazines were California-compliant.
Typically, in reaction to Rodger’s murder spree, California lawmakers passed a new law allowing guns to be seized from people who are deemed to be in “extreme risk” situations.
The hero sheriff’s sergeant killed in the Ventura attack was identified as 29-year-veteran Ron Helus, according to the local CBS affiliate. He leaves behind a wife and family.
None of the other 11 victims was publicly identified and the investigation is continuing.