Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told a news conference yesterday morning that Long was a Marine Corps veteran and had apparently fired at random with a.45-calibre Glock handgun with an extra-capacity magazine. Long opened fire on the crowd of hundreds and shot Sgt. Hulus before turning the gun on himself, according to authorities.
Authorities previously announced the deaths of suspected 28-year-old shooter Ian Long, and Sgt. Ron Helus, a Ventura County Sheriff's officer who responded to the scene. As investigators dig for answers, loved ones and strangers mourn the victims - including some now known as heroes.
Reports said that Long may have suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Dean related.
Asked what the scene inside the bar was like, Dean said, "Like ... hell". It was going to be a "very hard day for many people", said Andrew Fox, mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, where the attack happened Wednesday night. "We need a lot of ambulances".
"You could tell he really had a heart for what he did", she said, sobbing.
"I would make fun of him, because he would drag me there. Sometimes we'd go there to have a drink, sit and talk, listen to music", said a woman who's been friends with Long for five years and does not want her name made public.
A law enforcement official said Long posted to social media during the attack. I hope he rots in hell for eternity.
He trailed off, sobbing, then said, "Oh, Cody, I love you, son". "It must have been bad".
Unlike some mass shooting victims, they were not paralyzed by fear.
He attained the rank of corporal and saw combat while deployed in Afghanistan from November 2010 to June 2011.
On Thursday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement that Long, who was a Marine veteran, "was not enrolled in VA health care at any time".
"I think they all got out", he said.
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Long took his own life after the SWAT team had arrived but it is believed that a mental health illness was the main contributor to his decision to carry out this horrific act.
After leaving the Marines in 2013, Long went to college in California but did not complete his degree. He left the Marine Corps in 2013, and attended California State University at Northridge between 2013 and 2016 and did not graduate.
Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, choking back tears. He was shot several times as he tried to stop the gunman.
Meek's little sister, Victoria Rose Meek, 20, worked at the bar with her brother, and had promoted the Wednesday night "College Country Night" on her Instagram account, victoriarose_linedance, which included clips showing her twirling to the music shortly before the shooting.
When the gunfire broke out, Coffman, DeSon and another friend dropped to the ground.
Jasmin Alexander, who was with around 15 friends at the bar, said there was chaos and confusion inside when shots rang out.
"The fact that he was the first in the door doesn't surprise me at all", he said. "He made sure people were safe, and now we all have a handsome guardian angel watching over us".
The mass tragedy, which claimed police officer Sgt. Ron Helus and at least one survivor of the Las Vegas massacre among its victims, is the latest in 307 mass shootings that have occurred in the USA so far in 2018. After he was killed in this week's California massacre, his mother demanded actions, not words.
"I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts". But he declined to engage on questions on whether the nation needed stricter gun control laws.
"It was a very stern, straight-faced, focused face", he said.
He had returned to the school to support the Country Line Dance Club with Borderline. "He was a good guy", the friend said.
Sean Adler, who was 48, according to The Los Angeles Times.