The Marine Corps veteran who is accused of killing 12 at a California bar Wednesday had deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 as a machine gunner, the Marine Corps said Thursday.
Ian David Long, 28, opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday using a Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters in a briefing. Long is also believed to have killed himself.
“The Marine Corps extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims in this senseless tragedy,” the service said in a statement releasing Long’s service record details.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller offered his thoughts on the shooting in a tweet later Thursday, calling Long’s actions “despicable.”.
This is the second mass shooting in recent memory conducted by a former service member. Almost exactly one year ago, former airman Devin Kelley opened fire on a Texas church, killing 26.
Like Kelley, Long had previous run-ins with law enforcement. Kelley served 12 months in confinement at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in California for domestic assault.
While the extent of Long’s police record was not yet clear, Dean said deputies had previously dispatched to Long’s address in response to neighbors' concerns.
The Ventura County sheriff said Long “might have been suffering from PTSD” despite no evidence being offered to the public to suggest that, The LA Times reported.
Long served for about four and a half years in the Marine Corps, and deployed to Afghanistan as part of the surge strategy from November 2010 to June 2011. His last duty station was with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He left the service in 2013 with the rank of corporal.
Long is a decorated veteran, having deployed to Afghanistan during the Corps’ push to clear large swaths of the volatile Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The years 2010 to 2011 would mark one of the bloodiest periods for the Corps during its participation in the Afghan conflict.
One unit alone, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, lost nearly 25 Marines as it fought to clear rural villages and farmland in Sangin, Afghanistan from Taliban militants.
2010 also marked the launching of a massive joint NATO, U.S. and Afghan operation to clear the Taliban stronghold in Marjah, Afghanistan dubbed “Operation Moshtarak.” That operation would claim the lives of nearly 50 American troops.
Among Long’s awards are two Navy Unit Commendations, or NUC, which is only awarded to units for “outstanding heroism in action against the enemy,” according to the Navy’s award criteria instructions.
“To justify this award, the unit must have performed service of a character comparable to that which would merit the award of a Silver Star Medal for heroism, or a Legion of Merit for meritorious service to an individual,” the Navy and Marine Corps awards manual stipulates.
The NUC rates just below the Presidential Unit Citation in order of precedence.
Long’s other awards included: Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Combat Action Ribbon; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; and the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan, according to his Marine Corps records.