12 Dead Following California Mass Shooting

Nov 8, 2018
Originally published on November 8, 2018 11:06 am
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NOEL KING, HOST:

We've been following a developing story out of California all morning. We now have the name of the alleged gunman who fatally shot 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks last night. Ian David Long was a 29-year-old veteran of the U.S. military. He also died at the scene. A couple minutes ago, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean wrapped up a news conference about the shooting. Here he is.

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GEOFF DEAN: It appears he walked up to the scene. He shot the security guard that was standing outside. He stepped inside. It appears that he turned to the right and shot several of the other security and employees there and then began opening fire inside the nightclub.

KING: NPR's Kirk Siegler has been reporting from the scene all morning. Kirk, what do we now know about the alleged shooter?

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Well, as you say, we are starting to learn more. And some of the pieces are coming together. We know that he's a former Marine, 28 years old - Ian David Long, the alleged gunman. The sheriff told us he did have some prior run-ins with law enforcement - nothing, though, in the sheriff's and authorities' words, to be too serious. Of course, that will be under the microscope, I believe, as the investigation goes on.

KING: Do we know anything about what the run-ins were?

SIEGLER: There's some information trickling in right now about what conversations law enforcement had with the suspected gunman. I mean, as I've said, it's still an active investigation. What I can say is that it's safe to say that in states like California, where there have been mass shootings and mental health issues surrounding alleged gunman, in situations like this - and access to guns - that this - what the conversation may have been between law enforcement and the now-deceased gunman is going to be under the microscope. And there's going to be some questions about what could have been done, if anything, to prevent such a horrific event that occurred here last night.

KING: There were, as you've reported, a lot of young people at this bar last night. I know that you've been talking to some of those young people. Can you tell me what they've been saying?

SIEGLER: Just some - Noel, just some harrowing stories, as you can imagine - or we can't even imagine what that scene of terror must have been like in there, just a block from where I'm standing. It was college night. This is a popular bar. One sheriff's official told me they think that up to 175 people may have been in the club. Wednesday nights are college nights. We've been talking to eyewitnesses all morning. One woman - one young woman - 19-year-old Erika Sigman (ph) is a local college student at Cal State Channel Islands, which is just down the road from here in Ventura. She was in there and saw the gunman, and let's hear a little bit of what she has - her eyewitness account.

ERIKA SIGMAN: I heard something go off - obviously, the gunshots - and I realized that it was not music very, very quickly. And I heard everyone scream, get down.

SIEGLER: You know, there - and Noel, there were just reports of people being, you know, out on the dance floor and then scurrying and ducking. And one guy throwing - we heard about one guy throwing a barstool toward the window - just absolute chaos. Erika and her friends were reunited outside here, where I met them earlier this morning in the - you know, in the middle of the night, basically, here in Thousand Oaks - you know, reuniting with their friends and just a real, you know, chaotic scene and confusion out here all night and into the early morning hours as, you know, people were trying to get answers and learn whether their loved ones were still alive and where they might be. And, you know, we should also say, there are a number of people injured who were transported to local hospitals. We're still learning more about them. And some people even drove themselves, so lots still unfolding here that we're tracking.

KING: NPR's Kirk Siegler. Kirk, thank you so much.

SIEGLER: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.