LOS ANGELES —Before authorities said he opened fire at a Thousand Oaks bar, killing 12 people Wednesday night, Ian David Long was known among his neighbors in Newbury Park as a troubled ex-Marine who appeared to have serious mental health problems.
Dressed in black, Long, 28, made the five-mile drive from his home to the Borderline Bar and Grill, where he tossed smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of 150 to 200 people, law enforcement officials said.
Authorities said Long carried out the attack armed with a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun, which he purchased legally in Simi Valley, but had apparently modified with an extended magazine.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Long was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound in an office inside the bar. Authorities suspect he killed himself after carrying out the attack. Dean said officials discussed whether the gunman suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Dean said his department had had several interactions with Long, including a visit to his home in April for a complaint of disturbing the peace. Deputies at the time said Long was irate and acting irrationally, Dean said. They called in mental health professionals to evaluate him, and they concluded he did not need to be taken into custody. Long was the victim of a battery at a different Thousand Oaks bar in January 2015, Dean said.
Neighbor Richard Berge, 77, said Long was known to kick holes in the walls of the ranch-style house on Fowler Avenue where he lived with his mother.
“She’s a very sweet woman, but she had a lot of problems with the son,” Berge said. “I just know he tore the house up.”
On Thursday morning, a green light in a decorative fixture next to the garage of the three-bedroom home illuminated the driveway as authorities huddled outside. The light is commonly used to honor military veterans.
According to the U.S. Marines, Long served between 2008 and 2013 and was a machine gunner. He was stationed in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.
He received standard military honors including the Navy Unit Commendation, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. In 2011, he attained the rank of corporal. His last post was at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.
After leaving the military, Long enrolled in 2013 at Cal State Northridge, where he studied athletic training. He left school in 2016 without graduating, according to the university.
Blake Winnett, a set builder from Simi Valley, said he lived with Long for about two years after they met in 2013. They roomed together in Simi Valley and later in Reseda while Long attended college.
Winnett recalled his former roommate as quiet —almost reclusive, keeping to himself and adhering to routines.
“He wasn’t outgoing or talkative,” Winnett said. “He kept to himself, always had his earbuds in. He went to the gym, went to class, or rode his motorcycle.”
Winnett said he would sometimes coax his hesitant roommate into going out and grabbing a drink at various watering holes in Los Angeles and around Simi Valley.
Long, he said, occasionally went to Borderline, but the bar’s western vibe wasn’t really his scene.
“He’s not really a country guy,” Winnett said.
Long was known to keep a handgun at the home he and Winnett shared with a few other roommates. It didn’t strike Winnett, a gun owner himself, as unusual.
Winnett said Long had his share of quirks. Sometimes, he would stay in the San Fernando Valley home’s garage for hours in sweltering heat, listening to electronic dance music and Dubstep and dancing alone.
“He did it all by himself. Maybe he was just embarrassed by it? But he’d be in the garage for an hour, 100 degrees outside and in the middle of the day,” he said.
Winnett said Long also dabbled in MDMA, a club drug known as molly. He said his former roommate also took painkillers after a motorcycle accident on a freeway around 2015 that left him with injuries to his hand.
On Thursday morning, Winnett was wrestling with his memories and phoning old roommates to make sense of what happened. Winnett, who last spoke to Long a year ago, said he couldn’t see Long carrying out such a massacre.
However, another former roommate who requested anonymity to protect her privacy, said it seemed evident that Long had some PTSD and wasn’t happy about his time in the military. Long’s personality, she said, changed after the motorcycle crash. The accident required Long to undergo surgeries and left him unable to work out, she said.
“He started taking pills for his pain and he was just not the same. His demeanor definitely changed. I didn’t know if it was due to the accident itself and the pain, or the pills,” she said. “He had a character change and was more isolated.”
Long’s mother would often come over to assist her son as he recovered. Long was an only child and was close to his mother, according to Winnett and the other former roommates.
After Long left the residence in Reseda, he moved in with his mom. Long continued receiving mail at his old place —from the Department of Motor Vehicles, from CSUN —and the ex-roommate would call, text and Facebook message Long but he never responded.
She wonders if she could have done more.
“In retrospect, should I have done something?” she said. “I did think to myself, I remember vocalizing this: ‘If I know anyone that might become a shooter, it would be Ian.’ I don’t think it’s normal to spend nine months in a room, which is what he did after the motorcycle accident. He’d go to his kitchen, his bedroom and that was it.”
Before he enlisted, Long was among Newbury Park High School’s class of 2008, according to a local newspaper’s list of graduates. He was a reserve outfielder on the varsity baseball team during his junior year after he transferred to the school from El Modena High School in Orange County.
Scott Drootin, who coached Long on the Panthers in 2007, said he was a very quiet teen who mostly kept to himself. Long spoke about plans to join the military after high school, and often wore an Army jacket, Drootin recalled.
“He was respectful,” Drootin said. “He wasn’t a very happy kid. I always try to make kids smile and he never did. He was kind of a loner.”
Long married in 2009 but filed for divorce jointly with his wife in May 2013 in Ventura County, according to court records. The divorce was finalized eight months later.
In April, Tom Hanson, 70, who lives near the Long’s home, called police when he overheard the 28-year-old one morning tearing the house apart. Hanson was worried that Long would hurt himself.
“I am not surprised, but I’m shocked,” Hanson said.
Neighbor Nick Dichirico said he was lucky to get a hello from Long whenever he saw him. Dichirico knows neighbors who live around Long’s home, and he regularly talks to them while walking his dog.
“He was one person that wouldn’t talk to anybody,” Dichirico said. “Everybody around here knows everybody, and everybody knows what’s going on, and this is a surprise to wake up to this morning.”