Terrified shepherds threw barstools through windows to escape or preemptively dumped their bodies over friends when a Marine veteran killed 12 people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic list of American cities traumatized by the mass shootings.
The gunman, dressed in all black with his hood raised, had apparently committed suicide when a dozen policemen gathered at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Southern California.
The motive behind the late-night commotion is being investigated.
The killer, Ian David Long, 28, a former machine gunner and veteran of the Afghanistan War, was questioned by police at his home last spring after an episode of angry behavior that authorities were told could be PTSD.
Authorities said Long shot a pistol along with an illegal extra-capacity magazine, shot a security guard outside the bar and then entered and targeted staff and customers. He also used a smoke grenade, according to an executive who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Among the dead were a man who survived last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, a veteran deputy mayor who rushed to confront the gunman, a 22-year-old man who was planning to join the army, a new student at nearby Pepperdine University and a recent conversation. Graduate of Cal Lutheran.
“It’s a terrible sight out there,” said Ventura County Sheriff Jeff Dean, in the parking lot. “There is blood everywhere.”
Survivors of the rampage – most of them young men who have gone out for a college night at Borderline, a popular hangout with students from nearby California Lutheran University and other schools – seem to know what to do, having reached adulthood in an active age – shooter drills and rampages. Deadly speaking with terrifying hesitation.
For some it was not a new experience. Survivors and their relatives said several people who were at the bar on Thursday were at the outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas last year where a gunman at a high-rise hotel killed 58 people.
“I don’t want prayers.” Said Susan Schmidt Orphanus, whose son Telemachus Orphanus survived the shooting in Vegas only to die less than 10 minutes from his home. “I want these bastards in Congress – they need to pass gun control until Nobody else has a child who wouldn’t come home. “
Authorities and witnesses said several of Borderline’s 150 shepherds dived under tables, ran to exits, penetrated windows or hid in attics and bathrooms.
Al-Sharif said, “Unfortunately, our guys, the people in the nightclubs, have learned that this might happen, and they are thinking about it.” “Thankfully it helped save so many lives that they fled the scene very quickly.”
Matt Weinnerstrom said he instinctively pulled people behind a pool table, and he and his friends protected the women with their bodies after hearing the shots. When the gunman stopped briefly to reload, Weinnerstrom said, he and others smashed windows with barstools and helped about 30 people escape. He heard another barrage of shots as soon as he safely got out.
“All I wanted to do was get as many people out of there as possible,” he said. “I know where to go if I die, so I didn’t feel anxious.”
A video posted to Instagram after a shooting by a sponsor showed an empty dance floor with the sound of windows smashing in the background. When a Shaded character enters through the doorway, the camera rotates intermittently and makes a 10-shot gun ring.
“I looked at him in the eyes while he was killing my friends,” wrote Dallas Knapp in his letter. “May it rot in Hell forever.”
The tragedy left a community that is listed annually as one of the safest cities in America to reel. Shootings of any kind are extremely rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Los Angeles, across the county line.
Mourners gathered for a protest on Wednesday evening as smoke billowed from a nearby fast-moving forest fire.
Earlier, people stood in line for hours to donate blood. Throughout the morning, people searching for missing friends and relatives arrived at a community center where authorities and advisors were informing the closest relatives of who had died. Lots of people passed by the television cameras staring into their eyes or crying in tears. In the parking lot, some people comforted each other with a hug or a back patting.
Jason Kaufman has received the news of the death of his son Cody, 22, who was about to join the army. Kaufman collapsed when he told reporters how his last words to his son as he drove out that night were not for drinking and driving and that he loved him.
“Oh, Cody, I love you, son,” Kaufman cried.
This is the deadliest attack of its kind since the killing of 17 students and teachers at Parkland High School, Florida nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Democratic Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first public appearance since winning the post on Tuesday, lamented the violence returning to California.
He said, “It’s a gun culture.” “You can’t go to a bar or a nightclub? You can’t go to church or synagogue? It’s madness is the only way to describe it. Normalization, that’s the only way I can describe it. It’s become normal.”
President Donald Trump praised the police for their “great courage” in the attack and ordered flags to be raised over half of the staff in honor of the victims.
Authorities searched Long’s home in Newbury Park, about 5 miles from the Borderline, for clues as to why it exploded.
“There is no indication that he targeted the staff.” “We did not find any engagement,” said Sharif.
The military said Long was in the US Marines from 2008 to 2013, and rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-2011 before being honorably discharged. Court records show that he married in 2009 and divorced in 2013.
Authorities said he had no criminal record, however, officers were summoned to his home, where MPs found him angry and behaving irrationally. Al-Sharif said that officers were told that he may have PTSD due to his military service. A mental health professional met him and didn’t feel he needed to be hospitalized.
Tom Hanson, 70, who lives next door to Long and his mother, said he called the police about six months ago when he heard “swipes” and screams coming from Long’s house.
His wife Julie Hanson said, “Someone missed something here.” “This woman should know this child needs help.”
Long was armed with a Glock 21 pistol, .45 caliber designed to carry 10 rounds plus one chambered, according to the Sheriff. Dean said it has an extended magazine – one that is capable of carrying more ammunition – which is illegal in California.
Sergeant Sergeant. Ron Hilos and a patrol man on the highway arrived at the club around 11:20 PM. Al-Sharif said that in response to several calls to 911, he heard gunfire and entered. Dean said Helos was shot on the spot.
A man pulled off the Hellus Highway Patrol, then waited for the APT and other officers to arrive. Helos died in the hospital.
By the time the officers entered the bar again – after about 15 to 20 minutes, according to the sheriff’s office – the shooting had stopped. Al-Sharif said that they found 12 dead inside, including the gunman who was discovered in an office.
“There is no doubt that they saved lives by going there and dealing with the suspect,” said Dean, who was due to retire on Friday. He praised the murdered officer – a close friend – as a hero: “He went there to save people and pay the final price.”
Authorities said another person was shot and wounded 15 others from jumping out of windows or diving under tables.
Authorities said five off-duty police officers who were at the bar helped people flee.
For several hours after the violence, survivors gathered in the dark, some crying and embracing as they waited to find out what happened to friends while ambulances were parked nearby. Many of the men were naked after using their shirts to bridge wounds and tie a tourniquet.
Around midday, the dead police officer’s body was transported by motorcade from the hospital to the coroner’s office. Thousands of people stood along the road or stopped in their cars to watch the chair pass.
Sheriff said Hilos was a 29-year-old veteran with a wife and son, and was planning to retire next year.