Law enforcement officials believe Thousand Oaks killer may have been targeting his ex-girlfriend
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, 7th November, 12 people were killed during a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California. It was the 307th shooting to have taken place in the USA in just 311 days since the start of the year.
The killer has since been identified as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former marine who served in Afghanistan.
He had run into trouble with the law on previous occasions, and, back in April of this year, officers were called to his home in Thousand Oaks because of a “disturbance”. It was believed at the time that he might be suffering from PTSD, but he was later assessed by a mental health professional and was not detained for his actions.
When news of this shooting first broke, it was again assumed that Long had suffered from an episode of PTSD, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Now, in the search for alternative motives, law enforcement officials are looking into the possibility that Long was targeting an ex-girlfriend.
No hard evidence has been shared with the press as of yet, but, as the Daily Mail reported, officers have reason to believe that Long may have thought a former girlfriend of his was at the Borderline Bar & Grill on the night he attacked.
Law enforcement also disclosed that Long had posted things on social media during the attack. They would not disclose exactly what he wrote, and his accounts on Facebook and Instagram have since been suspended, but Long’s posts reportedly spoke about his mental state and whether or not people would believe he was sane in the wake of the shooting.
In one post written just before he attacked the bar, Long is said to have spoken about gun control, and how ‘hopes and prayers’ do nothing to deal with the problem.
While investigators continue to work on establishing a motive, however, President Donald Trump has jumped to the conclusion that Long was spurred to kill by mental illness. According to him, Long was “a very sick puppy” with “a lot of problems” – though he provides no evidence for this.
And, once again, the shooting has reignited discussions surrounding gun control in the USA.
Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, the mother of 27-year-old victim Telemachus Orfanos (who survived the Las Vegas shooting last year only to die from another mass killing), spoke in anguish to reporters who asked her what could be done about the situation.
"I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts," she said. "I want those b******* in Congress - they need to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn't come home."
Gavin Newsom, the Governor-elect of California, spoke out about America’s gun violence problem in his first public appearance since winning office on Tuesday.
"It's a gun culture," he said. "You can't go to a bar or nightclub? You can't go to church or synagogue? It's insane is the only way to describe it. The normalisation, that's the only way I can describe it. It's become normalised."
The investigation into Long’s motives is still ongoing.