Dominique Colell, a former high school track coach for Newbury Park High School, has stepped out to accuse Ian Long of sexual assault.
Long is the gunman who was responsible for killing 12 and injuring many more when he opened fire at a bar in Thousand Oaks. Now, Colell has told CBS Los Angeles that Long assaulted her when she was his coach in high school.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Colell Said Long Sexually Assaulted Her During His Senior Year of High School
Colell said, “He attacked me. He attacked his high school track coach. Who does that?”
She further explained that it happened on a random day when she had found a cell phone and was trying to figure out whose it was. “Ian came up and started screaming at me that was his phone. He just started grabbing me. He groped my stomach. He groped my butt. I pushed him off me and said after that — ‘you’re off the team.’”
The next day, Long returned with flowers and begged her to let him back onto the team, per The Los Angeles Times.
Colell never pressed official charges, and said that she was persuaded by coaches and other administrative staff to accept an apology and move on, so that she wouldn’t interfere with his future with the Marine Corps. “I should have reported it then,” she said. She also notes that one high school administrator told her she was “too young and good looking to be taken seriously.”
2. Long Often Swore & Had Behavioral Issues, Colell Says
Per The Los Angeles Times, Colell said that she imposed mile runs whenever one of her athletes swore, and Long always owed her miles. She said, “He owed me miles regularly. One time, he cussed and started his laps, and every time he passed me, he cursed again. I’d add another mile.”
Colell added, “He was very determined and very angry. He was probably the only student that I was actually scared of when I coached there.”
3. Colell Is Convinced That Long Was Disturbed Far Before He Ever Joined the Marines
To CBS Los Angeles, Colell said, “It’s not PTSD…There are hundreds of thousands of people with PTSD. They don’t go around shooting people. This kid was mentally disturbed in high school. There were signs and the administration knew it.”
Colell is not the only person who has reported on Long’s strange and often erratic behavior, but she is the first to suggest that he had mental health issues prior to enlisting with the Marines Several neighbors noted Long’s mental health issues, and one neighbor, Robert Berges, even claimed that Long would throw furniture around his mother’s house.
Long’s baseball coach, Scott Drootin, painted a different picture of high school-age Long to The Los Angeles Times. “He was respectful. He wasn’t a very happy kid. I always try to make kids smile, and he never did. He was kind of a loner.”
4. Long’s Former Roommate Described Long as ‘Quiet’ & ‘Not a Bad Person’
Long’s former roommate, a man named Blake Winnett, said that he was “very shocked” to hear of what Long had done, following the shooting. To NBC, he said, “I just want to set things straight — he wasn’t a bad person.”
Winnett and Long met six years ago via a Craigslist ad for a roommate. Winnett described Long as a “great” roommate who was often quiet and secluded, but never inspired any red flags to Winnett about his mental health.
Winnett said, “Unfortunately, he did whatever he did. And whatever reason he has for that I don’t know. I’m still talking to other friends trying to figure that out because I’m confused. Doesn’t seem like him.”
Of Long’s purported PTSD from the Marines, Winnett added, “Well obviously, he’s got an illness. And as you guys refer to it as PTSD. The government should be fixing that. … It’s his problem, but it’s not his fault.”
5. Long’s Mother, Colleen Long, Was Living With Long at the Time of the Shooting
Colleen Long was Ian Long’s mother and roommate in the year leading up to the shooting.
Neighbor Richard Berge said of Long’s often volatile living situation with his mother, She’s a very sweet woman, but she had a lot of problems with the son. I just know he tore the house up. [Colleen] wasbeside herself, she didn’t know what to do because he wouldn’t get help.”