Official: Gunman apparently stopped shooting to post online

Official: Gunman apparently stopped shooting to post online
A bouquet of flowers, left by mourners, lays near the site of Wednesday's mass shooting, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a Southern California country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Damian Dovarganes)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities trying to make sense of why a gunman killed 12 people at a Southern California bar are not publicly discussing what they've learned, but at least one Instagram post he made after beginning the massacre has emerged as an early focus.

Social media platforms have scrubbed that and any other posts following Wednesday night's massacre. But one law enforcement official said Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine, posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane.

Authorities also were investigating whether he believed his former girlfriend would be at the Borderline Bar and Grill, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A second law enforcement official, Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian, said that — based on time stamps — the gunman apparently stopped shooting inside the bar and posted to Instagram. Kuredjian said he didn't know the content of any posts. Instagram and Facebook typically refuse to discuss individual accounts and did not respond to a request for comment.

Authorities described an attack of military efficiency. None of those injured was hurt by gunfire. When the gunman shot his .45-caliber pistol, he killed. As scores of police officers closed in, Long apparently shot and killed himself.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian, left, embraces chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) as they pray near the site of Wednesday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a Southern California country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian, left, embraces chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) as they pray near the site of Wednesday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a Southern California country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

Several people who knew Long in the suburb of Thousand Oaks where the gunman went to high school and eventually moved back in with his mother described him in disturbing terms.

This 2017 photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Ian David Long. Authorities said the Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday evening, Nov. 7, 2018, at a country music bar in Southern California, killing multiple people before apparently taking his own life. (California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)
This 2017 photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Ian David Long. Authorities said the Marine combat veteran opened fire Wednesday evening, Nov. 7, 2018, at a country music bar in Southern California, killing multiple people before apparently taking his own life. (California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP) (AP)

Long made others feel uncomfortable going back to his teens.

Police block the entrance to the parking lot leading to the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. Terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran killed multiple people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatized by mass shootings.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Police block the entrance to the parking lot leading to the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. Terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran killed multiple people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatized by mass shootings.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

Dominique Colell, who coached girls' track and field at the high school where Long was a sprinter, remembers an angry young man who could be verbally and physically combative.

FBI investigators join law enforcement as they work near the scene of Wednesday's shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
FBI investigators join law enforcement as they work near the scene of Wednesday's shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

In one instance, Colell said Long used his fingers to mimic shooting her in the back of the head as she talked to another athlete. In another, he grabbed her rear and midsection after she refused to return a cellphone he said was his.

People gather outside the Rivalry Roasters coffee shop for a vigil for Sean Adler Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Simi Valley, Calif. Adler was killed in Wednesday night's shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
People gather outside the Rivalry Roasters coffee shop for a vigil for Sean Adler Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Simi Valley, Calif. Adler was killed in Wednesday night's shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (AP)

"I literally feared for myself around him," Colell said in an interview Friday. "He was the only athlete that I was scared of."

People gather to pray for the victims of the mass shooting during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks , Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
People gather to pray for the victims of the mass shooting during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks , Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (AP)

Colell said she wanted to kick Long off the team, but the boy's coach urged her to reconsider because that could compromise his goal of joining the Marines. She relented when, at the next track meet, Long apologized in front of several coaches and administrators.

A picture of Noel Sparks is seen during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
A picture of Noel Sparks is seen during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (AP)

Attempts to get comment by phone and in person from officials at Newbury Park High School and its school district were unsuccessful. Both were closed because of a destructive wildfire in the area.

Thousand Oaks residents await to claim their vehicles as FBI agents verify vehicle registrations of autos parked in the lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. The gunman who killed 12 people at the country music bar in Southern California went on social media during the attack and posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane, a law enforcement official said Friday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Thousand Oaks residents await to claim their vehicles as FBI agents verify vehicle registrations of autos parked in the lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. The gunman who killed 12 people at the country music bar in Southern California went on social media during the attack and posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane, a law enforcement official said Friday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

As investigators worked to figure out what set him off, President Donald Trump blamed mental illness, describing the gunman as "a very sick puppy" who had "a lot of problems." At the White House on Friday, Trump touted his efforts to fund work on post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans and ignored questions about stricter gun control laws.

People hug as they arrive to recover their vehicles parked in the parking lot the Borderline Bar & Grill bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. The gunman who killed 12 people at the country music bar in Southern California went on social media during the attack and posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane, a law enforcement official said Friday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
People hug as they arrive to recover their vehicles parked in the parking lot the Borderline Bar & Grill bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. The gunman who killed 12 people at the country music bar in Southern California went on social media during the attack and posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane, a law enforcement official said Friday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

Investigators have not commented on whether mental illness played a role in the rampage. But a mental health specialist who assessed Long after sheriff's deputies responded to a call about his agitated behavior last spring worried he might be suffering from PTSD.

A flag is seen partially wrapped up in its pole due to heavy winds, outside the home of the ex-Marine Ian David Long, who killed 12 people at a country music bar Wednesday, in Newbury Park, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Wildfire smoke fills the sky in the background. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A flag is seen partially wrapped up in its pole due to heavy winds, outside the home of the ex-Marine Ian David Long, who killed 12 people at a country music bar Wednesday, in Newbury Park, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Wildfire smoke fills the sky in the background. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (AP)

The incident happened in April, when yelling and loud banging noises coming from the home Long shared with his mother prompted a next-door neighbor to call authorities. The mental health specialist concluded there were no grounds to have him involuntarily committed.

Among the dead in the shooting rampage were a sheriff's sergeant gunned down as he entered the bar and a U.S. Navy veteran who survived last year's massacre in which a gunman in a high-rise Las Vegas hotel killed 58 people at an outdoor country music festival.

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Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Tami Abdollah in Washington; Krysta Fauria, Christopher Weber and Kathleen Ronayne in Thousand Oaks; Amanda Lee Myers and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles; and Don Babwin in Chicago contributed to this report.