Bar Gunman Was ‘Out of Control’ in High School, Coach Says
MONTCLAIR, Calif. (AP) — Evie Cluke, former track coach of California gunman, Ian David Long, recalled him as volatile and intimidating. She stated that repeated complaints that were made to the school administrators about his behavior had failed to prompt any discipline.
Cluke coached Long on Newbury High School’s track team in 2007 and 2008. He was a “ticking time bomb” who constantly lost his temper, threw tantrums and screamed at coaches when he didn’t like their decisions, Cluke told the Associated Press.
She also witnessed a fellow coach, Dominique Colell, get assaulted by Long. Colell claimed that he grabbed her rear and midsection after she refused to give him back his cellphone. There was another time that Colell feared for herself when she was around him.
Cluke said she also witnessed Long pretending to shoot Colell.
“When Dominique turned around and saw that, she turned pale as a ghost and it was very, very scary.” Cluke said. “Just sadistic. … He was out of control. He would scream and cuss and his face would turn bright red and people would actually back away from him.”
Long, a 28-year-old former Marine machine-gunner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire during college night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night. He killed 11 people and a police officer who responded, and then fatally shot himself, police said.
Authorities have not determined a motive.
Colell kicked Long off the track team immediately after he assaulted her, but she and Cluke said the boy’s track coach urged her to reconsider because that could compromise Long’s goal of joining the Marines. The head track coach, Cluke said, reversed Colell’s decision to throw Long off the team and told her she didn’t have that authority, while the now-retired principal brushed it aside as a one-time incident.
Long rejoined the team after apologizing in front of several coaches and administrators.
Cluke said she, Colell and her father, also a track coach at the school at the time, repeatedly reported Long’s behavioral problems, to no avail.
“You need to do something about this kid. He needs some help.” Cluke said she told administrators. “And they’re like, ‘Well, he’s got a good heart he’ll be fine. Just talk to him.’”
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