12 Dead In Southern California Shooting
NOEL KING, HOST:
We're learning more about the man who allegedly killed 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The victims include a sheriff's deputy who responded to the scene. The suspect, Ian David Long, is also dead. NPR's Nate Rott has been on the scene for the past couple of hours.
Nate, what is the latest information?
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: So authorities in the last press conference identified the shooter, like you said, Ian David Long. He is 28 years old - or was 28 years old, I should say. He lived nearby the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks. He was a Marine Corps vet, which has led to some speculation that he might have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
He had several interactions with law enforcement authorities - said before. Most of those were minor, traffic citations and the like. Last year, there was a reported disturbance at his home, though. Authorities showed up and said he was acting erratically. Mental health specialists interviewed him and determined at the time that he was not in immediate danger to himself or others, so he was not committed or anything like that.
KING: And the speculation about PTSD - at this point, it is just questions, yeah?
ROTT: Yes. The sheriff had mentioned that. He was asked that during the press conference and said that that could have been a possibility.
KING: You've been reporting all morning that this was a bar filled with young people. It was college night there. Tell us about some of the young people that you spoke to.
ROTT: So I talked to a number of college students who had been at the bar doing Western dancing and hanging out with friends. The sheriff says that at about 11:20, that's when they got their first reports of shot fired. The gunman shot a security guard outside of the building and then entered and started shooting people in the entrance. I talked to a 20-year-old, Matt Wennerstrom (ph), who said he was about 30 feet away from that door, the entrance, when the gunman entered.
MATT WENNERSTROM: Basically, I was straight in the bar, like down the steps straight to that back pool table - heard shots, looked up to watch him (ph). And I just pulled people down below the pool table until I heard a break in the shots. And then we threw a bar stool through the window, and we all jumped out.
ROTT: Yeah. The sheriff says there were at least six off-duty officers that were inside the bar during the shooting. A parent told the sheriff that one of those officers stood in front of the gunman to try to protect their daughter.
KING: Oh, my gosh.
ROTT: So there's lots of stories of heroics that happened in there and also just lots of stories of heartbreak. It was a chaotic scene that law enforcement officers have just described as horrific.
KING: We had Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean on MORNING EDITION earlier today. And he said that his assumption was that most of the victims are very young, ages 19 to 25, he thought. Do we know anything more about the victims at this point?
ROTT: We don't. They are still trying to reach out. There is a family reunification center here in Thousand Oaks where I know there are a lot of anxious family and friends waiting to hear about loved ones that they've not heard from yet. They are going to notify all families before they let us know anymore information about those victims.
KING: NPR's Nate Rott on the scene of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Nate, thank you so much.
ROTT: Yeah. Thank you, Noel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.