Police identify former Marine as gunman who killed 12 in California bar shooting

1 / 5
A gunman, who has now been identified as 28-year-old veteran Ian David Long, killed 12 people, including a police officer, when he opened fire in a country music bar in California. (Screenshot: Social Media)
2 / 5
Police officers interview people outside a country music bar and dance hall in Thousand Oaks, in the Los Angeles area where the shooting happened. (USA Today/AFP)
3 / 5
People comfort each other as they sit near the scene of the shooting in Thousand Oaks. (AP)
4 / 5
First responders are seen outside Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California in this still image taken from a social media video. (Reuters)
5 / 5
Jacqui Irwin, a member of the California State Assembly, and Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Eric Buschow comfort each other during a news conference after a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks. (Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2018
0

Police identify former Marine as gunman who killed 12 in California bar shooting

  • It was the second mass shooting in America in less than two weeks
  • ‘We have no idea if there is a terrorism link to this or not’

THOUSAND OAKS, California: A gunman, who has now been identified as 28-year-old veteran Ian David Long, killed 12 people, including a police officer, when he opened fire in a country music bar packed with college students in California, officials and witnesses said Thursday.

Police said the gunman was found dead inside the bar on the outskirts of Los Angeles although it was not immediately clear if he was killed by officers or shot himself.

A gunman, who has now been identified as 28-year-old veteran Ian David Long, killed 12 people, including a police officer, when he opened fire in a country music bar in California. (Screenshot: Social Media)

Speaking at press conference in the wee hours of Thursday, a sheriff said that around a dozen other people had been injured. He said the motive of the shooting and the identity of the shooter were not known.

It was the second mass shooting in America in less than two weeks.

Witnesses said that the gunman, who was wearing a black trenchcoat, throw several smoke grenades inside the Borderline Bar and Grill before he started he shooting at around 11:20pm on Wednesday night.

“It’s a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters.

“We have no idea if there is a terrorism link to this or not. As you know, these are ongoing investigations and that information will come out as soon as we are able to determine exactly who the suspect was and what motive he might have had for this horrific event.”

“Nothing has led me to believe or the FBI there is a terrorism link here. We certainly will look at that option.”

Dean said that the dead police officer, who was named as Ron Helus and had been on the force for 29 years, was among the first on the scene.

The dead police officer, who was named as Ron Helus and had been on the force for 29 years. (Supplied)

“They found 11 victims that had been killed,” said Dean of the first response unit before detailing that the death of Helus brought the toll to 12, not including the gunman.

-------

Here is a recap of some of the other most deadly shootings in the country in the past 10 years.

- On October 1, 2017 a heavily armed "lone wolf" gunman opens fire from a 32-floor hotel room on an open-air concert on the Las Vegas Strip. He kills 58 people before turning the gun on himself. Around 500 are wounded.

- A 29-year-old gunman opens fire inside a nightclub in the Florida city of Orlando on June 12, 2016 and kills 49 people. The shooter, who pledged allegiance to Daesh in a 911 call during the attack, is killed in a shootout when police storm the building.

- A 20-year-old man kills his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shooting dead 20 six and seven-year-old children and six adults. He commits suicide.

- A gunman opens fire with an assault rifle during a Sunday morning church service in the rural Texan community of Sutherland Springs on November 5, 2017, killing 26 people and wounding 20. The gunman, aged 26, is found dead in his vehicle.

- A former student opens fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018, killing 15 people on the premises with two dying in hospital. A 19-year-old who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons is arrested.

------

The venue in the quiet, upscale Thousand Oaks suburb had been hosting an event for college students, with possibly several hundred young people in attendance, Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff’s office said earlier.

Matt Wennerstron, a 20-year-old college student and regular at the bar, said the shooter fired a short-barreled pistol that apparently had a 10-15 round magazine.

“It was just semi-automatic, as many shots as he could pull, and then when it started to reload that’s when we got people out of there and I didn’t look back.”

He said he and others smashed their way out of the bar onto a balcony and then jumped down to safety. “One bar stool and straight through a window,” he told reporters.

TV footage showed SWAT teams surrounding the bar, with distraught revelers milling around and using their cell phones as lights from police cars flashed.

Holden Harrah, a young man who saw the incident, cried as he told CNN that a place where he goes every week to have fun with friends had been a scene of carnage.

“A gentleman walked in the front door and shot the girl that was behind the counter. I don’t know if she is alive,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times quoted a law enforcement official as saying at least 30 shots had been fired.

An unnamed witness told the newspaper that someone ran into the bar around 11:30 p.m. and started shooting what looked to be a black pistol.

“He shot a lot, at least 30 times. I could still hear gunshots after everyone left,” the Times quoted the man as saying.

It was the latest chapter in America’s epidemic of gun violence.

Only 10 days ago a gunman killed 11 worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

That shooting was politically sensitive: the suspect, Robert Bowers, who said he wanted to kill Jews, argued that a Jewish advocacy group had been aiding a Central American migrant caravan denounced repeatedly by President Donald Trump in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm election.

Last year a country music festival called Route 91 in Las Vegas was the scene of the worst mass shooting in modern US history. A gunman shooting from the 32NG floor of a hotel and casino with high power weapons killed 58 people.

Carl Edgar, a 24-year-old regular at the Thousand Oaks club, said he was in the bar with about 20 friends and had not been able to reach some of them since the shooting. They may have turned their phones off, he said.

“A lot of my friends survived Route 91,” he told the Times. “If they survived that, they will survive this.”


Seoul: North Korea withdrew staff from liaison office

Updated 22 March 2019
0

Seoul: North Korea withdrew staff from liaison office

  • The second US-North Korea summit in Vietnam collapsed due to disputes over US-led sanctions on the North
  • The South Korean statement calls the North’s decision “regrettable”

SEOUL: North Korea abruptly withdrew its staff from an inter-Korean liaison office in the North on Friday, Seoul officials said.
The development will likely put a damper on ties between the Koreas and complicate global diplomacy on the North’s nuclear weapons program. Last month, the second US-North Korea summit in Vietnam collapsed due to disputes over US-led sanctions on the North.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said that North Korea informed South Korea of its decision during a meeting at the liaison office at the North Korean border town of Kaesong on Friday.
The North said it “is pulling out with instructions from the superior authority,” according to a Unification Ministry statement. It didn’t say whether North Korea’s withdrawal of staff would be temporary or permanent.
According to the South Korean statement, the North added that it “will not mind the South remaining in the office” and that it would notify the South about practical matters later. Seoul’s Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters that South Korea plans to continue to staff the Kaesong liaison office normally and that it expects the North will continue to allow the South Koreans to commute to the office. He said Seoul plans to staff the office with 25 people on Saturday and Sunday.
The South Korean statement calls the North’s decision “regrettable.” It said South Korea urges the North to return its staff to the liaison office soon.
The liaison office opened last September as part of a flurry of reconciliation steps. It is the first such Korean office since the peninsula was split into a US-backed, capitalistic South and a Soviet-supported, socialist North in 1945. The Koreas had previously used telephone and fax-like communication channels that were often shut down in times of high tension.
The town is where the Korea’s now-stalled jointly run factory complex was located. It combined South Korean initiatives, capital and technology with North Korea’s cheap labor. Both Koreas want the US to allow sanctions exemptions to allow the reopening of the factory park, which provided the North with much-needed foreign currency.