College students saved dozens in California shooting by throwing bar stool through window

College students saved dozens in California shooting by throwing bar stool through window
A year ago, they survived the Las Vegas massacre. Now theyve lived through another
On Wednesday, they endured another, as 12 people were killed by shooter Ian David Long in California.

Several people inside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., were also at the Route 91 music festival last October, when gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 and injured hundreds of others.

Nicholas Champion was among those who survived both shootings and spoke about his experience to CBS News.

Opening fire with a handgun with an illegal, extra-capacity magazine, Long shot a security guard outside the bar and then went in and took aim at employees and customers, authorities said. He also used a smoke bomb, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In April, Champion spoke about surviving the Las Vegas shooting in an interview with Billboard Magazine.

Ex-Marine apparently acted alone in California bar shooting: FBI

“Firefighting has been something Ive been interested and wanted to do for a long time. Its something I had been setting myself up for, and then after the event, it really went into overdrive. What I saw and experienced at Route 91 reaffirmed that I want to be a firefighter,” he said.

Survivors of the rampage — mostly young people who had gone out for college night at the Borderline, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University and other schools — seemed to know what to do, having come of age in an era of active-shooter drills and deadly rampages happening with terrifying frequency.

Another witness of the California shooting, Brendan Kelly, also said he was at the Las Vegas massacre.

Authorities said he had no criminal record, but in April officers were called to his home, where deputies found him angry and acting irrationally. The sheriff said officers were told he might have PTSD because of his military service. A mental health specialist met with him and didnt feel he needed to be hospitalized.

Video: Deadly Shooting At Bar In Southern California

READ MORE: After the U.S. midterm election — and another mass shooting — will there be gun reform?

“Borderline was our safe space after, for lack of a better term, it was our home for the probably 30 or 45 of us who are all from the greater Ventura County area who were in Vegas.”

Video: Special Report: Shooting in Thousand Oaks, California

Ex-Marine opens fire in bar, killing 12, including cop

Katie Ray agreed, saying the Borderline bar was a “place of healing” for the group after the Las Vegas shooting.

Mourners react outside a reception center for families of victims of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S. November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer The gunman, identified by police as 28-year-old Ian David Long, was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound following the Wednesday night massacre at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, a suburb 40 miles (64 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, law enforcement officials said.

Thousand Oaks Bar Shooting Leaves At Least 13 Dead, Including Gunman

For many of us, it was seeing each others faces in the bar again that brought us a huge sense of relief, she said in an interview with HuffPost.

“He was raving hell in the house, you know, kicking holes in the walls and stuff and one of the neighbors was concerned and called the police,” Richard Berge, who lived one block away from the home, told Reuters. “They couldn’t get him to come out, so it was like a standoff for four or five hours.”

Thousand Oaks: Las Vegas shooting survivor among dead

The Borderline bar is a popular spot for university students, and on Wednesday night was hosting College Country Night.

Dean told reporters that in April officers had gone to Long’s home in nearby Newbury Park, about 4 miles (6 km) from the bar to answer a disturbance call and found him agitated. Mental health specialists talked with Long and determined that no further action was necessary, the sheriff said.

California Lutheran University, located about 8 kilometres from the bar, cancelled classes on Thursday, while Pepperdine University, about 32 kilometres away, planned a prayer service.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Rich McKay in Atlanta, Doina Chiacu in Washington, D.C., Gina Cherelus and Gabriella Borter in New York and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Grant McCool

Authorities: 13 dead in shooting at California bar

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The mourners gathered to hold hands, to sing and to wonder how one of the safest cities in America could become a killing zone.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday evening to remember the dozen people shot and killed by a Marine veteran at the packed Borderline Bar & Grill the night before.

“We will be sure to paint a picture of the state of mind of the subject and do our best to identify a motivation,” Delacourt said, adding that the FBI would investigate any possible “radicalization” or links to militant groups.

It was a scene of horror enacted in many places around the country in recent months, but never before in Thousand Oaks.

The Borderline is popular with students and was hosting a College Country Night at the time of the shooting. Nearby California Lutheran University canceled classes on Thursday while Pepperdine University, about 20 miles away, planned a prayer service.

Video: 1 October survivors also at bar during Thousand Oaks shooting

Terrified patrons who had gathered for the weekly line dancing and college night hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as shots erupted. Twelve people were killed including Ventura County sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran nearing retirement who responded to reports of shots fired and was gunned down as he entered the bar.

"When I told her (his wife) that we had lost her hero, I said to her: Because of Ron, many lives were saved," Dean said. "And she looked at me through her tears and she said: He would have wanted it that way."

A night that shouldve been filled with dancing & laughter turned tragic by senseless violence — our hearts are heavy for the people of Thousand Oaks and everyone affected by the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar, which took 12 lives including @VENTURASHERIFF Sergeant Ron Helus pic.twitter.com/7FmY3kw5mc

Latest : Marine combat veteran kills 12 in crowded California bar

The dead also included a man who had survived last years massacre in Las Vegas, Telemachus Orfanos, 27.

"I dont want prayers. I dont want thoughts," his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, said earlier. "I want those bastards in Congress — they need to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesnt come home."

….Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.

California shooting: Ian David Long identified as gunman who killed 12

Dani Merrill also attended the 2017 Las Vegas country music festival where a gunman in a high-rise hotel opened fire and killed 58 people. She was appalled that such bloodshed had come to her community.

The entire LA Kings organization is deeply shaken by this senseless and horrific act on one of our local communities. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We wish all the people of Thousands Oaks strength and peace and we share in their sadness and grief.

I dont want prayers. I dont want thoughts: Mother of Thousand Oaks shooting victim makes emotional plea for gun control

"Im super upset that it happened in our home and I feel awful for the families that have to go through this," Merrill said at the vigil. She escaped from the Borderline bar when the shooting began, hurting her knee as she ran onto a loading dock.

The city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometres) from Los Angeles, just across the county line, is annually listed as one of the safest cities in America.

Pepperdine officials are working with authorities and will provide updates as more information is available. The University offers its deepest condolences and is praying for everyone involved in tonight’s tragic events. (2/2)

"Hope has sustained communities, very much like Thousand Oaks, through the exact same triages of mass shootings," said Andy Fox, the citys outgoing mayor. "Tonight Thousand Oaks takes its place with those cities, who in order to move forward will rely on hope. we are Thousand Oaks strong."

“The Cal Lutheran community is filled with sorrow over the violent events that took place last night a few miles from campus in Thousand Oaks. Sadly, we have learned from the family that a recent graduate, Justin Meek, 23, is one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy. Meek heroically saved lives in the incident.”

California shooting: Ex-Marine apparently acted alone, says FBI

The killer, Ian David Long, 28, was a former machine-gunner and Afghanistan war veteran who was interviewed by police at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behaviour that authorities were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.

Twelve people died when a person opened fire at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday night. The gunman also died at the scene. More than 20 others were injured in the attack. Heres what we know about the victims so far. This story will be updated as more information is confirmed.

Dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, Long opened fire with a handgun with an illegal, extra-capacity magazine. He shot a security guard outside the bar and then went in and took aim at employees and customers, authorities said. He also used a smoke bomb, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. He apparently killed himself as scores of police converged on the nightspot.

“Our hearts are broken,” the couple said. “We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last nights shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks. Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner.”

Many of the estimated 150 patrons at the Borderline dived under tables, ran for exits, broke through windows or hid in the attic and bathrooms, authorities and witnesses said.

“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” – mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK

Matt Wennerstrom said he instinctively pulled people behind a pool table, and he and friends shielded women with their bodies after hearing the shots. When the gunman paused to reload, Wennerstrom said, he and others shattered windows with barstools and helped about 30 people escape. He heard another volley of shots once he was safely outside.

“Weve all been up watching the news, listening to police scanners, praying, calling our parents,” freshman Pari Cribbins said. She had her arm around another student who was at the Borderline Bar on Wednesday night, but who was too shaken to talk about it.

"All I wanted to do was get as many people out of there as possible," he told KABC-TV. "I know where Im going if I die, so I was not worried."

“We came together to do what people of faith do, when were not sure what else to do — we pray, read scriptures, be together in a community of faith,” the universitys chaplain Sara Barton said. “Our students wanted that, they needed that.”

A video posted on Instagram after the shooting by one of the patrons shows an empty dance floor with the sound of windows shattering in the background. As a silhouetted figure comes through a doorway, the camera turns erratically and 10 gunshots ring out.

Telemachus Orafnoss mother confirmed his death to ABC7. He survived the Las Vegas shooting, according to his mother, before being killed Wednesday night. She called for gun control in response to the shootings.

Who is Ian David Long? California shooting gunman who killed 12 people in Thousand Oaks

"I looked him in his eyes while he killed my friends," Dallas Knapp wrote on his post. "I hope he rots in hell for eternity."

Earlier, people stood in line for hours to give blood, although some found it hard to get to the donation site because of a wildfire that erupted not far away and closed down a major freeway.

“I saw someone throw a bar stool through the window and I followed suit and I threw a bar stool through the window and we just pushed people towards the bar, so that they weren’t in the direct line of sight of him and then just filed as many people, everyone that was there, out through that back window,” he explained.

All morning, people looking for missing friends and relatives arrived at a community centre where authorities and counsellors were informing the next-of-kin of those who died.

Jason Coffman received the news that his son Cody, 22, who was about to join the Army, was dead. Coffman broke down as he told reporters how his last words to his son as he went out that night were not to drink and drive and that he loved him.

It was the nations deadliest such attack since 17 students and teachers were killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“Then we hear the shots stop or pause, at that point I knew he was reloading and there was not much he was going to be able to do so I jumped up, looked further down along the back of the bar — it’s all glass.

Democratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first public appearance since winning office on Tuesday, lamented the violence that has returned to California.

Matt Wennerstrom is being hailed a hero after saving at least 30 people during a shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Wednesday night that left 13 people dead by throwing a bar stool through a window so civilians could escape.

"Its a gun culture," he said. "You cant go to a bar or nightclub? You cant go to church or synagogue? Its insane is the only way to describe it. The normalization, thats the only way I can describe it. Its become normalized."

“And then after we had gotten everyone, the few boys that were shuffling people through, we basically jumped out the window and then just pushed everyone down the side along the fence towards the parking lot.”

President Donald Trump praised police for their "great bravery" in the attack and ordered flags flown at half-staff in honour of the victims.

A sheriffs unit and two highway patrol officers responded to the calls for help. Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus and a patrol officer went in through the front door, at which point Helus was struck multiple times with gunfire. The patrol officer rescued Helus out of the line of gunfire, but Helus later died from his injuries.

Authorities searched Longs home in Newbury Park, about 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the Borderline bar, for clues to what set him off.

Police identified the suspect in the shooting as Ian David Long, 28. He was a student at California State University at Northridge who last attended in 2016, the school confirmed. He was also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, according to authorities. Police had met with him earlier this year but he wasnt arrested.

"Maybe there was a motive for this particular night, but we have no information leading to that at all," the sheriff said.

Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11 before he was honourably discharged, the military said. Court records show he married in 2009 and was divorced in 2013.

Justin Meek, a 23-year-old graduate of California Lutheran University and reportedly the bars bouncer, died after he heroically saved lives in the incident, according to the school. Alaina Housley, the 22-year-old niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley, was also killed in the attack, her family said.

California bar shooting: 13 people including the gunman killed, authorities say

Authorities said he had no criminal record, but in April officers were called to his home, where deputies found him angry and acting irrationally. The sheriff said officers were told he might have PTSD because of his military service. A mental health specialist met with him and didnt feel he needed to be hospitalized.

Hundreds standing in line at La Reina High to donate blood.Officials warned it could be hours but most staying in line.The blood drive already had been planned for about 30 people. After the shooting, the school offered to open it up to the public as well#ThousandOaksShootingpic.twitter.com/JnyY6ZOmrQ

Hero Australian man, 20, caught up in US mass shooting reveals how he protected mates from shooter

Tom Hanson, 70, who lives next door to Long and his mother, said he called the police about six months ago when he heard "heavy-duty banging" and shouting coming from the Longs home.

Long likely shot himself, officials said. He had legally purchased the .45-caliber handgun he used during the shooting, but had outfitted it with an extended magazine that isnt legal to purchase in California under a 2000 law. Its unclear when and where he purchased the magazine.

Gunman Ian David Long stormed his local California bar almost five years to the day of his divorce

"Somebody has missed something here," his wife, Julie Hanson, said. "This woman has to know that this child needed help."

AP journalists Christopher Weber in Thousand Oaks, Andrew Dalton, Amanda Lee Myers, John Antczak and Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

People gather to pray for the victims of the mass shooting during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks , Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Mourners embrace during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This image made from aerial video show officers around a Police SUV in the vicinity of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (KABC via AP)

Police: Twelve killed in California bar shooting

A forensics team works the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sheriffs deputies speak to a potential witnesses as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

In this image made from aerial video, police vehicles block an intersection in the vicinity of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Authorities say there were multiple injuries _ including one officer _ after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday. (KABC via AP)