Don’t blame PTSD for Thousand Oaks shooting, say experts

WASHINGTON – Authorities said the Marine Corps veteran accused of gunning down 12 people in California Wednesday had previously exhibited erratic behavior suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder, but experts say his actions should not be blamed on PTSD.

Ian David Long, 28, is accused of killing 12 people in a country bar in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

“It’s not PTSD,” said Barbara Olasov Rothbaum, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at Emory University School of Medicine. “This is whatever else, what other pathology would cause someone to do this.”

Long was a machine gunner who deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and was stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, when he left the military in 2011, the Marine Corps said. During his service, he received a Marine Good Conduct Medal and three Navy commendations.

Between 11 percent and 20 percent of veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq have post-traumatic stress disorder in a given year, VA researchers have said.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour told USA TODAY on Thursday that Long was “not enrolled in VA health care at any time.”

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