The mass shooter who killed 12 people when he opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in California reportedly posted on social media mocking the platitudes typically shared after the kinds of attacks he went on to carry out.
“I hope they call me insane … [laughing emojis] wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony?” Ian David Long, 28, wrote Wednesday around the time of the attack, law enforcement officials told CNN.
“Yeah … I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’ … or ‘keep you in my thoughts’ … every time … and wonder why these keep happening …” Long wrote.
Police said Long used a .45 caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine to storm the Thousand Oaks bar, where patrons as young as 18 were enjoying “college country night.” He first shot a security guard at the front entrance and then deployed smoke bombs inside before opening fire, authorities and witnesses said.
He also shot Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, as he was responding to reports of gunfire. Before Long is believed to have turned the gun on himself, 12 were killed and 21 were injured in attack.
Long was a veteran who served in Afghanistan with the Marines. In April, officers responded to a disturbance at Long’s home.
"They went to the house. They talked to him," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. "He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally."
A mental health specialist with the crisis team who met Long said he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but decided to not detain him. California’s “5150” mental health detention law allows for the temporary detention of people with psychiatric issues.
When the statements that police believe Long made on Facebook were read to a friend of his, the friend told CNN: “That does not sound like Ian to me at all. I don’t know what was going through his head when he wrote this. It must have been terrible.”
A motive in the shooting is not known. Long’s friends said he would often go to the Borderline Bar & Grill.
“He really liked it,” a friend told CNN.
Others who knew Long said that he was prone to violence, recalling incidents dating back to high school that left them fearful long before he joined the Marines.
"I don't know what he saw over there, but he was mentally disturbed before he left for the military," Dominique Colell, who coached Long in track, told Inside Edition. "He was the one student athlete I had that I was actually scared of."
Long attacked her during a dispute over a cellphone, Colell said.
"He tried to grab it from me and he reached around me, grabbed my butt, reached around me, grabbed my stomach," she said. "I pushed him off me and I said, 'Stop! You know you can't do that!'"
She said Long was so angry that she feared he would return to kill her and broke down when recalling her reaction to finding out he was behind the mass shooting.
"I feel guilty," Colell said, crying. "I feel guilty for being thankful that it wasn't me and some of my athletes."
And in his yearbook, Long noted one goal to aspire to after baseball.
"Death," he wrote.