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Sheriff’s Report: ‘We Will Likely Never Know’ Motivation Behind Borderline Mass Shooting

Mourners at a 2018 vigil for Borderline shooting victims hug Jason Coffman (l) and his wife Shari (r), the parents of victim Cody Coffman. (Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
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More than two years after a man fatally shot 11 people at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, a report released today by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department concludes that “we will likely never know the true motivation” for the attack.

The shooter, Ian David Long, a 28-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran, killed 11 patrons and staff before taking his own life.

Ventura Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus also died during the incident. He was accidentally shot by a CHP officer as they exchanged fire with the shooter.

“The suspect did not leave behind a manifesto outlining his reasoning for the killings, nor did he leave behind a vast digital footprint that might have provided investigators with pertinent data to evaluate and interpret,” the report said. “Efforts to pinpoint either a triggering mechanism or a time frame when the suspect put his plan in motion presented a challenge.”

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At the same time, there is some evidence of Long’s state of mind leading up to, and during, the attack. For nearly a year before the massacre, he visited websites that “demonstrate a propensity for mass violence, suicide, and murder,” according to the report.

It also reveals a second Facebook post Long wrote during the incident. (A post in which he mocked society’s “hopes and prayers” after mass shootings has been previously reported.)

“It’s too bad I won’t get to see all the illogical and pathetic reasons people will put in my mouth as to why I did it,” the report quotes Long as writing. “Fact is I had no reason to do it, and just thought…f--- it, life is boring so why not?”

The report includes a list of recommendations on how first responders in Ventura County can improve how they handle mass casualty events.

One addressed an issue raised by LAist at the time: Deputies waited 36 minutes after Helus was shot before making a second entry into the bar to help the wounded. That was in part because they were waiting for a SWAT captain to arrive, according to the department.

The report said active shooter training should teach deputies to be more adaptable and that they don’t always have to wait for SWAT.

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