THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Hours after a mass shooting at a California bar, ATF and FBI investigators raided the house where gunman lived with his mother. Their home is on a suburban street about five miles from the Borderline Bar & Grill, where Long killed 12 people.
In the neighborhood, those who live nearby said he seemed to be frequently angry and unfriendly.
“He wouldn’t come out of the house that much. When I did see him drive by, I’d wave and he wouldn’t wave back,” said Gareth Crites.
The 28-year-old served nearly five years in the Marines, including about seven months of combat duty from November 2010 to June 2011 as a machine-gunner in Afghanistan. He left the military in 2013.
There were rumors Long suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Donald Macleud could hear loud arguments across his backyard fence.
“He was a lot worse when he came back from the military,” he said.
“I suspected he had a gun there because I heard a gunshot one night, over a year ago,” Macleud said.
During one disturbance, neighbor Tom Hanson took action.
“I called the police on him that time, just because I didn’t know if he was hurting himself,” Hanson said.
Law enforcement had several contacts with Long, mostly minor: A traffic accident and an incident where he was a victim in a fight at another bar. But Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said on one occasion, deputies were called to the house and found Long acting irrationally.
“Our mental health specialist who met with him, talked to him and cleared him and didn’t feel that he was qualified to be taken under 5150 and he was left at that scene last April,” Dean said.
The term “5150” refers to a California law that would have allowed Long to be involuntarily held for 72 hours for a psychiatric evaluation. Without a mental health red flag or a dishonorable discharge from the military, there was nothing to prevent him from legally owning a gun, even under California’s strict gun laws.
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