It’s a question still without an answer. Why did Ian David Long go on a rampage at a Thousand Oaks bar which led to 12 people being murdered? Authorities released some new details about the November 7th attack, but admit we still don’t have the answer to the big question of why it happened.
At a Tuesday news conference, Sheriff Bill Ayub said while they are still sifting through mountains of evidence to come up with a timeline for the attack, we do know more about the basics.
Ayub says the gunman walked up to the bar at 11:18 p.m. the night of the attack, and immediately opened fire. He fired about 50 shots from a Glock pistol which had been legally purchased in Simi Valley. Investigators say he had seven cartridges for the gun, but only used two of them before killing himself.
The Sheriff says the attack appeared to carefully planned, with the gunman using smoke grenades to cause confusion in the bar.
As the first law enforcement officers reached the scene, the gunman was apparently prepared for them. Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus was wearing body armor as he entered the bar along with a CHP officer, but was hit multiple times. Fellow officers had to pull the mortally wounded officer from the bar.
Other arriving officers tried to seal off the area, and they called for a SWAT team. Sheriff Ayub says they just didn’t know what they were facing, with confusing among accounts from witnesses leaving them thinking they might be dealing with multiple gunmen at two locations.
Ventura County Medical Examiner Dr. Chris Young says some people have asked whether some of the victims could have been saved if officers went back into the bar sooner. But, he says based on preliminary autopsy results, the victims died quickly. Young also says that so far, none of the victims appear to have been hit by friendly fire from the two law enforcement officers.
Ayub says the 28 year old man didn’t have any kind of an arrest record. And, he says the one law enforcement call to the Newbury Park home the gunman shared with his mother doesn’t help answer the motive question. Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the house last spring by neighbors who thought the former Marine might be having a mental breakdown. Ayub say Long was upset over some financial issues, but he and his mother assured officers that there was no intent to hurt anyone. He still underwent a mental health evaluation, but crisis team members couldn’t make a finding he required treatment.
Investigators still have months more work ahead, with hundreds of pieces of evidence and about 400 interviews to sift through in the case.