PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) The former US Marine suspected of shooting up a bar in Thousand Oaks, California killing at least 13, might have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The suspected shooter, Ian David Long, spent time serving in Afghanistan.
But those in Arizona's veterans’ community are wary about linking the mental disorder with the mass shooting.
“You know, I lead a group every Tuesday full of combat veterans who struggle, like myself, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” said Zack Alexander of the PTSD Foundation of America. “None of us have ever walked into an establishment and shot it up.”
Alexander says he worries that placing too much emphasis on Long’s potential PTSD will further stigmatize other veterans who suffer from the disorder.
“Now they’re afraid to ask for help,” Alexander said.
However, others who have been touched by PTSD say the mass shooting highlights the need for further outreach to veterans.
“I think it does strike a chord of the problem we have in society of dealing with the issue,” said Aaron Dix, whose friend Robert Graves committed suicide after suffering from PTSD.
Dix’s tattoo parlor, Sinful Skin Tattoo Studio in Glendale, will be holding a fundraiser Sunday for the PTSD Foundation of America.
“The cause was definitely worthy to build awareness for a problem in our society that really needs more attention,” Dix said.
If you are a veteran dealing with PTSD and want help, you can call the PTSD Foundation of America 24/7. Their number is 877-717-7873. You can also visit their website at PTSDUSA.org for more information.