A former track coach at Newbury Park High School in California has said that she was once assaulted by David Long, the 28-year-old former U.S. Marine authorities say killed 12 people and wounded more than a dozen others before taking his own life in a mass shooting last week at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
Dominique Colell told CBS Los Angeles that she was Long’s running coach about 10 years ago, but has never forgotten his name due to a disturbing incident that took place during his senior year.
She said that a girl on the team handed her a cellphone, and she was trying to determine to whom it belonged when Long “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.’”
Collel claims the administration subsequently encouraged her not to take Long off the team, because it might have a negative impact on his plans to join the Marine Corps. Collel accepted an apology from Long and did not report him — a decision that she says she now regrets following last week’s shooting.
Another woman who coached Long on the track team had similar recollections about him. Evie Cluke, a former track coach at Newbury Park High School, coached Long for two years on the track team and in an interview with The Associated Press described Long as “a ticking time bomb.”
Cluke witnessed the alleged incident Collel came forward about. “When Dominique turned around and saw that, she turned pale as a ghost and it was very, very scary,” the former coach recalled 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.” Cluke said she warned school administrators about his behavior and said Long needed help, but those concerns were largely brushed aside.
Long did join the Marines after graduating from high school, and was honorably discharged in 2013. Authorities are reportedly investigating whether he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, but Collel says that based on her experience, Long was exhibiting troubling behavior even before his military service.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people with PTSD,” she said. “They don’t go around shooting people. This kid was mentally disturbed in high school. There were signs and the administration knew it.”
For more on the story and to hear the interview with Collel, watch the video below.
Read the full story at CBS Los Angeles.