Return to Transcripts main page


California Shooting News Conference; New Details on the California Shooting. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 8, 2018 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: 7:00 a.m. out west. I'm Poppy Harlow.


A sad scene, a heartbreaking scene, and a familiar scene in America. Another mass shooting. Any minute now, police will hold a news conference updating us on this latest shooting.

CNN has learned investigators in southern California now know the name, the ID, of this shooter and other details as well. We're coming up on eight hours now since a man with a handgun opened fire inside the Borderline Bar and Grill in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks.

It was college night. The dance floor was packed with people as young as 18 from a number of nearby college campuses. In minutes, 12 people were killed, plus the attacker, whose name we will not report, whose face we will not show on this broadcast. But we do now know it was a 29-year-old man.

HARLOW: Right. We're expecting a press conference any moment. You'll see it live here. We should hear from the sheriff but also from the father. The father of a young man who was there last night at the Borderline enjoying his evening, as every, every child and every college student should be able to do. Earlier this morning, he said he had not heard from his son since the rampage, so we should get an update from that father.

The first casualty to be publicly identified was the first police officer to run through that door, Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus.

Let's listen now to Sheriff Geoff Dean of Ventura County.

SHERIFF GEOFF DEAN, VENTURA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Identify them and make notifications. So we will not be releasing any victims' name at this time.

We have identified the suspect. Approximately an hour ago the suspect was identified as Ian David Long. I-a-n David Long. Birth date of March 27, 1990. He was 28 years old.

We've had several contacts with Mr. Long over the years. Minor events, such as a traffic collision. He was a victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015. In April of this year, deputies were called to his house for a subject disturbing. They went to the house. They talked to him. He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally. They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists, who met with him, talked to him, and cleared him. Didn't feel that he was qualified to be taken under 5150. And he was left at that scene last April.

Deputies are at the house now. They have secured the residence. And they're seeking a search warrant to do a thorough search of the house.

The weapon used in this horrific shooting was a Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun. The handgun is designed to hold, in California, ten rounds and one in the chamber. This weapon did have an extended magazine on it. We do not know at this time how many rounds were actually in the weapon or how many rounds it -- the magazine could actually hold because it's still being processed as part of the evidence.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

QUESTION: Any possible motive at this point?

DEAN: Yes, we have -- we believe that's the only weapon that was used was that hand gun.

QUESTION: Do you know why he did this, sir? Why he did this?

DEAN: We don't -- we don't know if he -- we don't know if he reloaded his weapon or not. We're still interviewing witnesses. There's not necessarily indication that that happened. 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.

We don't have any other details to confirm an exact chronology about what happened. We will provide that to you as we bring all our witness statements together and we feel more comfortable about talking about that.

QUESTION: Sheriff, any idea of a motive?


DEAN: We have no idea what the motive was at this point.

QUESTION: Was he alone?

QUESTION: Did he purchase his weapon legally (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: The incident in April happened in his home and he did purchase the weapon legally.

QUESTION: Was he living alone? QUESTION: Despite the 5150 hold?

DEAN: Now, the -- the 5150 hold was never placed on him. The crisis -- the mental health experts out there cleared him that day.

QUESTION: Could you elaborate on the other interactions your deputies have had with him. Is it more than just these two?

DEAN: It was -- one he was involved in a -- he received a traffic citation and another one he was involved in a traffic collision. So pretty minor interactions. We -- he was -- he is a veteran. He was in the United States Marine Corps.

[10:05:05] QUESTION: And, sheriff, we heard he may be suffering from PTSD. Did your crisis team --

DEAN: I -- that was -- I understand that was part of the discussion when the deputies went out to the call with the crisis team that felt he might be suffering from PTSD, facing that the fact he was a veteran and had been in the corps.

QUESTION: Can you clarify any more on how the deputy was shot?

DEAN: The -- when Sergeant Helus and the Highway Patrol officer went in, they immediately exchanged gunfire with the suspect. And that's when the Sergeant Helus was shot several times.

QUESTION: Do you know the date when he was discharged from the Marine Corps?

DEAN: No, I have no idea about his service record.

QUESTION: Sheriff, do you know when the suspect was shot, if he shot himself or how he died?

DEAN: It's not -- we believe he shot himself. When the officers went in and made reentry, he -- they found him already deceased.

QUESTION: Where inside the bar was he found?

QUESTION: How long before --

DEAN: He was found inside an office just adjacent to the entry to the bar.

QUESTION: It's our understanding that Sergeant Helus was able to call his wife right before he ran into the bar.

DEAN: Sergeant Helus was having a conversation with his wife on the phone, and he does several times during the shift, and said to her, hey, I've got to go handle a call. I love you. I'll talk to you later.

QUESTION: Did the gunman say anything to any of the victims before the shooting?

QUESTION: How much time expired from the first shot -- DEAN: Not as far as we know at this point. He could have, but we don't know.

QUESTION: Any indication that he may have been targeting (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: No, there's no indication that he targeted the employees or -- we haven't found any correlation. We'll probably know more after we execute the search warrant at his house, that maybe there was a motive for this particular night. But at this point we have no information leading to that at all.

QUESTION: Were the secretary personnel part of the --

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) accounts from different witnesses of what this guy was wearing. Can you tell us what -- based on what you already know, what he was wearing and his direction of travel once he walked into the bar?

DEAN: All I know about his direction of travel is he went in and he turned right and fired at the employees that were standing there. He was -- my best -- my best recollection from seven hours ago, he was wearing a black sweater, and I don't -- I don't remember what color pants he was wearing. I apologize.


DEAN: No -- not when we went inside he was not.


QUESTION: How long before he was -- how long --


DEAN: Two and a half minutes.

QUESTION: Did he use smoke bombs?


DEAN: We haven't confirmed whether he used a smoke bombs but we have a couple of witnesses that have alluded to that.

QUESTION: So, sheriff, there was no -- there is no reason to believe or -- there was anything wrong with this person before this happened?

DEAN: Well, I mean, you could say there's no reason to believe it, but, I mean, obviously, he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this. So he obviously had some sort of issues.

QUESTION: Is he a Thousand Oaks resident?

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) inside the bar?

DEAN: No. QUESTION: Was the security guard that was shot armed?


QUESTION: Did he have a pre-existing relationship with the bar?

QUESTION: He was not armed?


QUESTION: Was anybody armed at the bar that we know of?

DEAN: Not that we know of.

QUESTION: Is he from Thousand Oaks?

QUESTION: Do we know of any pre-existing relationship with this bar? Why this particular location?

DEAN: We -- there's no connection as of yet.

QUESTION: Do we know how this (INAUDIBLE) witnesses whether (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: Yes, we don't know. We knew -- we know that once Sergeant Helus and the Highway Patrol officer engaged him, the shooting inside stopped. So we don't know if he then went back in the office and shot himself or how that really transpired.


DEAN: He lives in Newberry Park.

QUESTION: Sheriff, sheriff, why do you think this keeps happening in the United States of America and not in comparable rich democracies?

DEAN: That's a pretty challenging question. I think we see unfortunate horrific actions that happen all over the world. And I don't know if it happens more in the United States or doesn't. I'd have to read the stats.

QUESTION: It does. It does. Why do you think that is?

DEAN: Well, I don't know. If I knew the answer to that, I'd do something to stop it.

QUESTION: Can you talk about the training that Sergeant Helus and the other members of law enforcement have for an active shooting situation, just like this, and how that helped when they arrived on scene?

DEAN: Well, as we -- as we talked about at the wee hours of the morning, post the Columbine shooting, how we approach active shooters changed completely. Instead of waiting and surrounding and bringing our SWAT team, the officers are to immediately engage and try to stop the target and stop the killing. And that's exactly what happened here.

QUESTION: Do you believe they helped save lives?

DEAN: There's no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect. Who knows? Who knows? There was -- we don't know how many people -- I've heard anywhere from 150 to 200 people in there. So this -- not that by any means the loss of 13 lives is good, but it could have been much, much worse.

[10:10:03] QUESTION: How many people were employees and how many people that were people that were in the bar?

DEAN: I don't know.

QUESTION: Is it your belief (INAUDIBLE) it was targeting, even though you don't know who or what INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: Well, I don't think it was random. I mean he's -- you know, he's a resident of this area. And I would have to -- common sense would speculate that there's some reason he went here. He probably knew about it. But I don't think it was just -- it's not like he was driving down the freeway and decided I'm going to get off here.

QUESTION: But as far as the shooting, do you believe he targeted any specific victims inside of that (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: There's nothing to lead us to believe that that actually happened.

QUESTION: Can you give us some of the heroics performed by people inside saving some (INAUDIBLE)? What do you want to say about that?

DEAN: It's just amazing. There were probably six off-duty police officers in there from a couple different agencies. And I've already talked to a parent that came up and said they stood in front of my daughter. So it was -- it was amazing. It was amazing.

QUESTION: How many people injured?


QUESTION: What's your advice to people right now? What's your sort of your word to the community (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: You know, I went and went and spoke at a Jewish synagogue after the tragedy on the East Coast. And when I talked to the parishioners there, and the -- I followed up on the rabbi, I said, we've got to do something about the hate. And we've got to do something to just spread the love and don't -- and reach out and help people and be patient with them and understand them because this will touch so many lives around our community.

QUESTION: Sheriff, how -- any indication of social media that he may have been using where he was complaining about something?

DEAN: There's nothing to indication that, but, you know, we are looking at his social media sites, which I'm sure all of you are also.

QUESTION: Sir, did any of the off duty officers in there engage him at all?

DEAN: I -- none of them were armed. So I --

QUESTION: Can you give -- sir, can you give us additional information about the law officer that passed away?

DEAN: Well, it's out there, Sergeant Ron Helus. He's a 54-year-old 29- year veteran of the Sheriff's Office. He's married with a grown son. And as I've said several times, he went in there to save people and made the ultimate sacrifice.

QUESTION: Sheriff, is there a commonality with the civilian victims? Whether it -- age or gender or some other demographic or even by location within the crime scene (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: No, I don't believe so. I -- once they get inside I use the word random. And I think that -- it appears to be random inside. I don't think he was targeted people. It -- we could do a further investigation that could prove to be true, but it doesn't appear to be that way at this point.

QUESTION: What is the way in --

QUESTION: Do you know when and where he bought the gun?

DEAN: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Do you have a close when and where he purchased the gun?

DEAN: Our partners at ATF are currently in the process of investigating that for us.


DEAN: No, I don't know exactly. Probably -- I believe there might have been four or five that I saw, but I'm not sure how many were in there.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) honor Sergeant Helus today?

DEAN: I'm sorry.

QUESTION: What is the plan to honor Sergeant Helus today?

DEAN: At 10:00, we will -- at 10:00 we'll be moving his body from (INAUDIBLE) hospital to the medical examiner's office in Ventura and we'll be convoying him over.

QUESTION: With the loss of a sergeant, what is (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: It's lost a hero. It's lost a great human being. It's part of the loss of, again, of the 11 other victims that are in there, and it's all part of the suffering that we're all going to go through as family members and parents and brothers and sisters on this tragic, senseless loss of life.

QUESTION: Sheriff, what is your message --

QUESTION: Was he close to retirement?

DEAN: He was within a couple years of retiring, yes.

QUESTION: Can you talk about any training that these deputies may have been through recently to go in there? Were they prepared for --

DEAN: We do ongoing active shooter training with all of our personnel. In our county, we train with our firefighters also. So if we need medical rescue, we take our firefighters in with us. So it's an ongoing training that we've been doing for years.

QUESTION: What can you say about the number of injuries and what happened with them and how badly they're injured and the number of people?

DEAN: It's my understanding, and, again, don't hold me to this, that there's one other minor gunshot injury. And there's somewhere between eight and 15 other injured, mostly cuts from jumping out of windows, diving under tables. They're relatively minor compared to everything else.

[10:15:00] QUESTION: Sheriff, what's your message to --


DEAN: We don't know that much yet.

QUESTION: Sheriff, were there exits? What kind of exits does the bar have? Several or --

DEAN: Yes, there's fire escapes and the patrons exited out of all of those. They ran out of back doors. They broke windows. They went through windows. They hid up in the attic. They hid in the bathroom. So they, unfortunately, our young people, our people at nightclubs, have learned that this may happen. And they think about that. Fortunately, it probably saved a lot of lives that they fled the scene so rapidly.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) the suspect?

DEAN: Not that --


DEAN: He was the victim of -- yes, he was the victim of a battery in January of 2015. It wasn't here. It wasn't at this bar.

QUESTION: What bar was it?

DEAN: At a different bar.

QUESTION: Where was it? QUESTION: Do you know what bar it was?

DEAN: I don't.

QUESTION: And you found his --

DEAN: Yes, it was in Thousand Oaks. I just don't -- I can't remember which bar it was.

QUESTION: He drove to the car -- he drove to the bar in his mom's car, is that accurate?

DEAN: I'm not sure whose car it is. He drove to the bar in a car. I'm not sure who it's registered to.

QUESTION: Do you know which car that is on the scene right now?

DEAN: Yes, we do.

QUESTION: Have you found any other evidence within the car?

DEAN: We're facilitating a search warrant to do that. We're not allowed to go in without the warrant.

QUESTION: Do you know how long that shooting lasted from when he opened -- first opened gunfire?

DEAN: No, I don't.

QUESTION: Are there any concerns with the car at this point?

DEAN: No, we've -- we put the bomb dog by it and everything and we feel comfortable. I was just standing by it, so we're good.

QUESTION: Do you guys have more (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: We'll be here for 15 or 20 hours at least. We still need to go through and identify. Our FBI partners are doing a great job. They've brought in their expert evidence team. They're flying people in from Quantico to do the scene. So we'll be here a long, long time.

QUESTION: Well, what does it look like in there?

DEAN: Like hell.

QUESTION: Can you tell us the sex of the victims, the ratio?

DEAN: No, I --


DEAN: We don't have those things identified yet.


DEAN: We have the house secured. We go in, we secure the house. We make sure everything's safe in there. And then we go get -- ask the judge for a search warrant to search it more thoroughly. So we feel safe that it's secured right now.

QUESTION: Was there anyone else at the house?


DEAN: We've had some conversations with some family members, and it would be premature to talk about that. It's still part of the ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: Do you plan to stay on until the investigation (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: No, I'm no longer the sheriff by tomorrow at midnight. But I will certainly be a part of the family.

QUESTION: Can you share more on that, sheriff? Are you retiring tomorrow?

DEAN: I am.

QUESTION: So what is your message to families who still have loved ones unaccounted for?

DEAN: We have a family center set up. They need to call the number. And we are expediting as quick as we can, because my heart goes out to those parents and family members that don't know. So contact our family help center, and we will coordinate with you. And as soon as we have any information, it will be going right to the families.

QUESTION: Do you know the age range of the victims?

DEAN: I don't.

QUESTION: For this to be one of your last days on the job, I mean what's -- what's that like? What's going through your mind as you (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: It can't be any worse.

QUESTION: And how's your department doing (INAUDIBLE)?

DEAN: They're mourning. They're sad. It's awful. Ron was a great guy. He was close to everybody. He was a hard worker. And our hearts are broken all over.

QUESTION: He was also nearing retirement. What do you say to the fact that he didn't get there and this had to happen?

HARLOW: All right, we have just gotten a lot of important information from the sheriff, Geoff Dean there of Ventura County. We have learned the name of the shooter, which we will not repeat on this show, nor will you see his face.

SCIUTTO: No. HARLOW: Twenty-eight years old. Mental health issues. He has been known by law enforcement. They sent mental health officials to his home a while ago. Cleared him. Did not take him in under the 5150 law in California that would have allowed them to do that had they deemed it necessary. We know he used one gun.

SCIUTTO: Yes. With an extended magazine. A Glock. It's a gun maker. A semi-automatic weapon. Police say it had a -- typically that would carry about 11 rounds. An extended magazine could take it up to 30 rounds, obviously increasing his ability to kill as many people as he did.

Some other interesting details. The sheriff said there were six off- duty police officers in the bar at the time --


SCIUTTO: Just socially celebrating. Even shared a story of a parent of a survivor who said that one of those officers stood in front of her daughter.

HARLOW: Right.

[12:20:01] SCIUTTO: There was also a security guard in the bar. That one of the first people that the shooter shot.

Final thing, U.S. Marine Corps veteran.


SCIUTTO: And suspicion that police said in their interaction with him that he had -- might have had PTSD.

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: Listen, it's a tragedy. And so many familiar details in this. And here we are. Look at the picture there. How many times have you seen that in America?

HARLOW: Once again.

SCIUTTO: We're joined now by CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, and CNN law enforcement analyst Josh Campbell, and former NYPD Detective Tom Verni. A lot of folks here with a lot of experience in this kind of thing.

Tom, the NYPD, you've dealt with a lot of shootings. As you listened to the sheriff there, what stood out to you?

TOM VERNI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Yes, well, again, we're hearing a lot of the same things that we've seen. I mean I've been doing this for a few years now since I've retired and it's the same scenario over and over again. It's a person with mental illness or someone who snaps. They have access to weapons.

SCIUTTO: Yes. VERNI: They go in and take out a dozen, two dozen, you know, three, four dozen people if you're at a concert, 20 school children in first grade. I mean, where does this stop? Where does this --


VERNI: And my whole -- you know, I -- when I was on Don Lemon's show a while back about another shooting, you know, I made this very simple point. And for me the line in the sand was Sandy Hook. If you are not completely disturbed by what happened in Sandy Hook where 20 first grade children, not that any of these other victims are not as important. Please don't get the wrong idea. And my condolences to the families and, you know, victims of this tragedy.

SCIUTTO: We hear you.


VERNI: But, you know, when 20 first grade children are slaughtered in their classroom, and six of their teachers, and no one lifts a finger to do anything, where are we in this country? My personal belief is that the pain is not great enough. The pain is not great enough for someone to address the mental health issue in the country. The pain is not great enough for people to stop the flowing of arms into our cities and into the hands of people who have mental illness.

One of the first things President Trump did when he came into office was to remove a law that enables people with mental illness to get their hands on a gun.


VERNI: So it has to be a top down initiative. From the president and everyone in D.C. get off your asses and do something to protect our kids.


VERNI: I mean, otherwise, where are we going to go? I -- this is an ISIS dream here.


VERNI: ISIS would love to go in and kill 10, 20, 30, 40 people, but we have Americans killing other Americans. So we don't need ISIS in this country.

HARLOW: Geez (ph).

VERNI: We have a serious problem here that needs to be addressed and the time has long since passed.

SCIUTTO: You know what struck us this morning when we were talking is that some of the people in that bar were survivors of the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017. The deadliest shooting at the time in America. In what kind of -- VERNI: Like that wasn't traumatizing enough, right?

SCIUTTO: Well, in what country do you -- do you experience two mass shootings in the span of a year?


VERNI: Yes. Exactly. And not be part of law enforcement or in the military where you're under fire because that's your job. It's just insanity. It really is.

HARLOW: Josh Campbell, to you.

It really struck me, I think both of us, when we heard the sheriff say this man was evaluated. His mental health, a veteran, possibly suffering from PTSD, mental health experts went to his home and cleared him. So what's the threshold then?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So what we just heard here from the sheriff just outside where the crime actually happened behind us is the nightmare scenario for a law enforcement leader. He had to step to the microphones and first of all grieve the loss of one of his own, one of the sergeants here who bravely went in the building, trying to mitigate the threat, trying to rescue victims, and he obviously tragically lost his life. That's something the sheriff had to tell us about.

The second thing, as you mentioned, he also had to tell us that the person responsible for this act had made contact with law enforcement. Now, here in California, there's a 5150 law where if there's someone who's facing some kind of psychiatric issue, some kind of distress, the authorities can actually commit that person to up to 72 hours for evaluation and then longer. But it looks like that it didn't meet the threshold here in this case. But that's going to be the subject of this review we know involving authorities here to look back and then also with the Department of Defense, understanding that, you know, this person was in the military. Again, this will be a multi-agency effort to try to determine who was this person, what did authorities know about him. Again, try to help figure out why he came and did this.

It will be important for this case. But, again, as we talk about the number of incidents that we're often deployed to, to cover, we see this over and over again. So it's that kind of data that, you know, we really need to gather to figure out, what was law enforcement getting from this person, what was their read, because, again, their goal was to stop this from happening again.



Shimon, we heard the sheriff there say that they're going to look at his social media.

HARLOW: Yes. SCIUTTO: Do we have any sense yet, and again I know it's early, I don't want to put you in an unfair position, but do we have any sense yet as to whether he made threats prior to this?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: No. In fact, our teams have been searching through this for quite some time now. You know, obviously, we've known the name for a little while and we've been searching and so far we have not found anything to indicate that -- any that would say this was about to happen or that he issued any threat.

There is some social media about his military background, obviously, and he was an active member of the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2013. So we have found FaceBook and other social media content which shows that.

[10:25:25] The other thing that I want to point out, obviously, you know, and which is going to be interesting for law enforcement and how they treat this, is the extended magazine issue and where that goes here because that has, obviously, come under fire before in shootings, in mass shootings, where people have used these extended magazines. People have called for them to be banned. So that's an interesting issue here as well.

But so far, really, there's a lot more work here for law enforcement to do. They have interviewed some of his family members, but they need to go back in. They need to go into the home, look through his computers to see if he has anything at all that can indicate a motive here.


SCIUTTO: Shimon, Josh, Tom, thank you.

You know, he may have had PTSD. We should make clear, big problem with U.S. military veterans, but the vast majority do not commit acts of violence.


SCIUTTO: They suffer, they deal with it. Their families suffer, but the vast majority do not commit acts of violence like this.

HARLOW: Look, and I think Tom just gave us a very, very, very important thing for everyone to think about right now, what's the line and what are you going to do about it? We'll stay on this, of course.

Still to come, the president will appear with his new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, this after the sudden firing of Jeff Sessions. What does this all mean for Mueller's Russian probe moving forward. We will discuss that.

SCIUTTO: Plus, we have some breaking news on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She fell. She fractured three ribs. We're going to give you an update just ahead.