The public is beginning to learn more and more about Ian Long's troubled past, Buzzfeed News is reporting. Long is the alleged gunman in the mass shooting that took place Wednesday, November 7 at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. He reportedly killed 12 people before ending his own life. Now, his former track and field coach from Newbury Park High School is speaking out about an experience she had with the suspect 10 years ago.
The coach, Dominique Colell, said that the incident began after she refused to hand a lost cellphone over to Long.
"He grabs my butt, he grabs my stomach, he puts both arms around me," Colell recalled. "It was clear that he wasn't after the phone. I felt horrible. I felt violated. I came home crying."
Colell said that she physically pushed him off of her -- and told him to stop -- before kicking him off of the team. The next day, however, Long attempted to apologize by giving her a bouquet of flowers. She eventually decided to let Long back on the team, after school administrators made him formally apologize to her before a track meet. She was also convinced to let him rejoin the team after another coach explained that kicking him off of the team would hurt Long's chance to become a Marine. Colell said that while she was pressured by others to forgive him, it was hard for her to actually do so.
"They come up and have Ian apologize to me in front of everybody, begging me to run the race. What am I supposed to do?" she said. "I let him back on the team and every day from then on he would come up to me with a big old smile... rubbing it in my face that he got to stay on the team."Colell believes that there were other issues which Long was facing, other than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that may have caused the shooting. PTSD from fighting in Afghanistan seems to be the popular theory as to why Long did what he did, but Colell thinks that there is more to it. Long seemed like he had anger issues, she said. For instance, she would make the students run a mile if they said a swear word. Long allegedly cursed Colell out at one practice, resulting in him having to run 13 miles.
"He was probably the only athlete I had that actually scared me," she said. "I think in this case with him, perhaps it was just a perfect storm, but it was not PTSD alone because there are so many people that have it that do not go out and do this."