How the Thousand Oaks shooter transformed from US marine to mass murderer

  • Ian David Long killed 12 people at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, on Wednesday night.
  • A fellow Marine, sports coach, room-mate, and neighbours have revealed information about his past, as police search for a motive.
  • This is how Long went from a baseball-playing High School student, then a US Marine, to the man who killed 12 people.

Ian David Long entered the Borderline Bar & Grill in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks at 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday night and shot dead 12 people in what tied for the 15th deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Since he’s been identified, friends and family have told the media how he went from serving his country in the US Marines Corps at age 19 to carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in history.

Ian David Long was born on March 27, 1990, the son of Colleen Long. Long’s cousin, AJ Schramm, told CBS News that Long’s father died from cancer when he was young.

Long went to Newbury Park High School, near Thousand Oaks, but it’s not clear what year he joined. School records show he played baseball there, and his old coach Scott Drootin told USA Today: “He was a very intense person, he didn’t seem like a happy kid.”

Newbury Park High School
Newbury Park High School, near Thousand Oaks, California. Google Maps

“It was really hard to get him to smile,” he said.

Back in 2006, Colleen Long and her son Ian had moved into a one-story, brown-roofed house on Fowler Avenue, Newbury Park – the same home police searched on Thursday hours after the shooting, The Washington Post and USA Today said.

After leaving High School, Long signed up to the United States’ Marine Corps on August 4, 2008, in Los Angeles, a Corps press release said on Thursday.

Ian david long
Ian David Long. Facebook

While serving, Long got married to a woman called Stavroula Tzavaras in June 2009, in Honolulu, Hawaii, according to court records seen by USA Today.

But just over a year later, Long got posted to Afghanistan on November 16, 2010, and he came back on June, 14, 2011, with a Combat Action Ribbon, meaning he saw combat.

Pastor Thomas Burke served with Long in the same regiment.He told CNN that Long’s battalion was in Helmand province when the fighting was very intense.

Long wrote a post on ShadowSpear, an online military forum, in March 2017 using the name “doorkicker03,” it said he was an infantry machine gunner for four and a half years, and an instructor in Okinawa, Japan, CNN reported.

On March 2, 2013 records show he left the Marine Corps with the rank of Corporal.

News outlets have reported that Long may have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his time in the US Marines, but police officials have not confirmed that as of Friday.

After Long left the armed forced, he wanted a change in career path. He decided to enroll in athletic training at California State University at Northridge.

Delmar T Oviatt Library
The Delmar T Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. Google Maps

On the same ShadowSpear post, Long had said: “I am graduating with a B.S. in Athletic Training in two months. I found out a little too late that just wasn’t the job for me.”

“Maybe the ego got the better of me but it took only one time for a 19-year-old D-2 athlete to talk down to me and tell me how to do my job that I realised this wasn’t the career I wanted to head.”

But the school said on Thursday he last attended class in 2016, and never graduated from his athletic training major.

David Winnett, 35, lived with Long in 2012 and 2014. They lived at addresses in Simi Valley and Reseda, both in Los Angeles, Winnett told The New York Post.

He described Long as “kind of weird,” and said he always locked himself in his room, and was always alone.

Read more:
‘I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts’: Mother of Thousand Oaks shooting victim makes emotional plea for gun control.

Winnett told the Post he never saw Long getting violent though.

In May 2013, Long and his wife got divorced citing “irreconcilable differences,” but they had been separated since 2011, USA Today reported.

Ventura County Sheriffs spokesperson Geoff Dean told press on Thursday that Long was known to police, as he had previously been involved in a traffic collision, one of several encounters the Sheriffs had with Long. It is not known when the collision was.

Thousand Oaks California
The suburb of Thousand Oaks, California. trekandshoot/Shutterstock

Dean said Long was the victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015.

In April, 2018, neighbour Tom Hanson made a 911 call about noise over at Long’s home.

He told local network KTLA: “It sounded like he was tearing down the walls of the house.”

“It would start and then it would stop and then it would get really loud and I hear this shouting. I thought, “Man, what’s going on out here?” . . . I mean, it’s a quiet neighbourhood.”

Police went to the Fowler Avenue house, where he lived with his mother, and talked to him. Dean said Long was “somewhat irate,” and acting “irrationally.”

Dean also said police called their crisis intervention team to the home, and the mental health team, but they declined to take him to a psychiatric facility for involuntary commitment.

Long’s mother was said to have “lived in fear” of David and what he would do. She told neighbour Richard Berge she was concerned about her son too, “she was … kind of beside herself, she didn’t know what to do because he wouldn’t get help,” CNN reported him as saying.

Newbury park long shooting borderline
The short distance from the house where Long lived with his mother to the Borderline Bar and Grill. Google Maps

At 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday Long entered a the busy Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, which ex-roommate Willett said the pair hung out at before, opened fire and killed 12 people dying himself.