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Suspect identified after 12 killed in shooting at California bar during college night

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Law enforcement have released the name of the man they believe killed 12 and injured others after opening fire at a packed South California bar.

Ian David Long is seen in an image taken from Facebook -- via KTLA

Ian David Long, 28, is believed to have used a .45-caliber handgun and a smoke device in the shooting, NBC News reports. He was killed at the scene.

Long was a former Marine, according to authorities who said at a news conference Thursday they had "several contacts" with him over years.

The gunman is believed to have used a legally purchased .45 caliber handgun with an "extended magazine." Authorities said they believe he shot himself. A motive for the attack has not yet been determined.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Long shot and killed a security guard outside the club, went inside and shot other security guards and employees and then open fire on the crowd.

The shooting comes the day before Sheriff Dean is set to retire, according to CNN. Dean said his last day on the job "can't be any worse," when asked about his last day in uniform.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office says they have had interactions in the past with Long including an April call at his house involving crisis intervention. Deputies found him "irate, acting a little irrationally." A mental health specialist met with him.

Dean said it was possible that Long had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although that had not been confirmed. “He obviously had some sort of issues,” Dean said.

A neighbor of Long’s said the veteran had served a tour in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Ron Helus with the Ventura County Sheriff's Office was among the 12 killed. The sheriff's office will honor him at 10 a.m. with a procession.

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and all public buildings and grounds until sunset Nov. 10 to honor the victims of the shooting. 

When the gunfire started Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, people who were dancing dropped to the floor and hid behind chairs and counters in stunned silence, witnesses said.

"It's a horrific scene in there," the sheriff said. "There's blood everywhere."

NBC News reports that Pepperdine University said it "has received reports that several Pepperdine students were at" the bar in question during the attack.

Others jumped over chairs and broke windows to get out.

Holden Harrah, who was at the bar, said the shooter walked in and opened fire within seconds.

"This guy just came out of nowhere and came out with a gun and shot people in Thousand Oaks, California," Harrah said. "And that's what's really blowing my mind, it's a really safe area."

When deputies responded to the scene, shots were still being fired, Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said at a news conference.

It was college night at the bar

The bar is a few miles from California Lutheran University, and is a popular spot for students on such nights. The western-style bar hosts theme nights such as country, salsa and swing dancing.

On Wednesday night, students had gathered for college country night, which was between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to the bar's website.

"I heard a gunshot, I turned around and I saw him shoot a couple more times," student Teylor Whittler, 19, told KABC.

"Within a split second, everybody yelled 'get down'," she said.

People "dog-piled on top of each other" trying to hide in silence, she said. Some men ran toward them and said the gunman was coming.

As they escaped through the bar's back door, she heard a second round of shots.

There was no screaming, she said. Just gunfire and stampeding crowds.

"I think everyone was in so much of a shock that it was sheer panic," Whittler said.

Nick Steinwender, who is part of the university's student government, said his friends were inside the bar when the shooting started. He described what they told him to the affiliate.

"It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out," he said. "From what I heard, the gunman started shooting at the front desk. ... Students were hiding in the attics, bathrooms and stuff like that."

Thousand Oaks is in Ventura County, about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles.