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

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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.

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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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