President Donald Trump calls California gunman who killed 12 people 'a very sick puppy'
Authorities are still unsure what may have motivated the 28-year-old to carry out the attack at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks
The mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks by ex-marine gunman Ian Long claimed the lives of 12 people, and authorities are still unsure what may have motivated the 28-year-old to carry out the attack. As the city of just 127,000 — which is known for its low crime rate and was rated the third safest city in the country — comes to terms with the incident, President Donald Trump has weighed in with his thoughts on the shooter.
"He is a very sick puppy," Trump told gathered reporters outside the White House before he left for a meeting with world leaders in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War 1.
It was speculated by numerous sources, including Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, that Long may have suffered from PTSD after his time in the Marine Corps, which included a tour of Afghanistan. Commenting on the rumor, Trump said, "He was a Marine, he was in the war, he served time, he saw some pretty bad things. And a lot of people say he had PTSD and it's a tough deal."
According to the Mirror, the shooting at the bar, which was known to be a popular location amongst students in the area, saw an 18-year-old freshman student at Pepperdine University and a graduate of California Lutheran University named amongst the victims.
Also amongst the casualties was Sgt. Ron Helus, a deputy who had been working with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office for 29 years and who was one of the first responders on the scene. Dean paid tribute to his fallen colleague and revealed that Helus had been planning to retire before he was killed.
More tragically, several survivors of the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre — which claimed 58 lives and injured another 851 and was the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in the country's history — were reportedly at the bar as well.
One of the dead was found to be Telemachus Orfanos, who had managed to escape the hail of bullets shooter Stephen Paddock had rained down at the Route 91 Harvest music festival but would find himself at the wrong place at the wrong time once again.
While investigators are still struggling to uncover what may have motivated Long to commit the shooting, a Facebook post the ex-Marine made at the time of the shooting adds further to the mystery. "I hope people call me insane ... wouldn't that just be a big ball of irony?" he had written, quotes the Mirror. "Yeah... I'm insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is 'hopes and prayers'.. and wonder why these keep happening."
It also emerged that, like a lot of other mass shooters, Long had a history of violence against women. His former high school track coach, Dominique Colell, came out to reveal that the 28-year-old has sexually assaulted her while he was studying at the Newbury Park High School.
But residents of the quiet city have had little time to process the shooting, with a wildfire now threating to burn away their homes. 47-year-old Heather Wynalda, who lives a few miles outside Thousand Oaks, said her brother's home had been consumed by the fire but that he had managed to make it out alive.
"It's just devastating," she said. "This community pulled together so beautifully in the midst of yesterday's shooting ... and today, it is being frantically scattered in an effort to escape the fires."