A sheriff said 13 people were killed, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman, after a shooting inside a crowded Southern California bar late Wednesday.
The gunman was tall and wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations.
Then, he said, he and others pushed down the broken glass and helped about 30 or 35 people out.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said his department had several previous contacts with Long, a former machine gunner and decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan. The deputies called in mental health specialists.
Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and grown son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, who choked back tears several times as he talked about a man who was also his longtime friend. The episode was thought to be possible post-traumatic stress disorder because of his military background.
Dean said the other prior encounters were a traffic accident and an incident when he was the victim of a battery at a bar in 2015.
Within seconds, the gunman burst into the bar and without a word, fired into the crowd with a Glock.45-caliber handgun.
Dean says the report of the shooting came as Helus was on the phone with his wife. The ATF is now investigating how and when the weapon was purchased.
Authorities searched Long's home in Newbury Park, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the Borderline bar, for clues to what set him off.
Dean said officials had been unable to find a connection between Long and the Borderline bar. Neighbor Tom Hanson had called the police with concerns about Long's behavior.
Dean said Long was a veteran of the USA marine corps.
Hanson has lived in his house for 40 years and said Long and his mother moved in between 12 and 15 years ago.
One ruckus in April was so extreme that they called law enforcement.
He served in the war in Afghanistan for seven months beginning in late 2010, the Marine Corp said, and was awarded multiple ribbons, commendations and medals. His last duty assignment was at Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii.
Coffman was the oldest of four boys, and the family was expecting was its first girl, Jason Coffman said. "It's not just something where you get out of there and fend for yourself".
He had just returned to Cal Lutheran to support the Country Line Dance Club with Borderline, Zimmerman said in a statement. He said Long became distant from family members upon his return from the Marines. "I don't know if she is alive", he said.
"She was genuinely caring, and loved serving people", Penrose said.
"It's a horrific scene in there, there is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that, and I didn't want to get that close and disturb the scene and possibly disturb the investigation", he said, adding that the motive is still unclear.
Noel Sparks, a 21-year-old student at Moorpark College, was also confirmed dead. The western-style bar hosts theme nights such as country, salsa and swing dancing.
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