Las Vegas massacre survivor killed just 1 year later in California shooting

Las Vegas massacre survivor killed just 1 year later in California shooting
Southern California city mourns in wake of bar massacre
Dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, the gunman apparently took his own life as scores of police converged on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Southern California.

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.

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.

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.

The dead included a man who had survived last years massacre in Las Vegas, a veteran sheriffs deputy who rushed in to confront the gunman, a 22-year-old man who planned to join the Army, a freshman at nearby Pepperdine University and a recent Cal Lutheran graduate.

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.

“Its a horrific scene in there,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in the parking lot. “Theres blood everywhere.”

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.

Condolences Pour in for Victims of Borderline Bar Shooting

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.

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)

For some it was not a new experience. Survivors and their relatives said several people who were at the bar Thursday had been at the outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas last year where a gunman in a high-rise hotel killed 58 people.

"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."

“I dont want prayers. I dont want thoughts,” said Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, whose son Telemachus Orfanos survived the Vegas shooting only to die less than 10 minutes from his home. “I want those bastards in Congress — they need to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesnt come home.”

Ventura County Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, was identified as one of the 12 killed, while others still remain unaccounted for. Its estimated that 40 to 50 families were at the unification center at 1375 E. Janss Rd., hoping to hear from loved ones who may have been at the Borderline Bar & Grill when the mass shooting took place. 

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.

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

Cops cop, 22-year-old among victims of California rampage

“Unfortunately our young people, people at nightclubs, have learned that this may happen, and they think about that,” the sheriff said. “Fortunately it helped save a lot of lives that they fled the scene so rapidly.”

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.

“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.”

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.

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.

Heartbroken over the awful tragedy and unthinkable loss of life in Thousand Oaks. Let’s agree as Americans: We cannot continue allowing gun violence to threaten our freedom and security and steal young people’s innocence and joy.

“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.”

Video: Video filmed inside Thousand Oaks bar during shooting

The tragedy left a community that is annually listed as one of the safest cities in America reeling. Shootings of any kind are extremely rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometres ) from Los Angeles, just across the county line.

Long’s gun had an extended magazine on it, Dean said, which enabled it to hold more rounds and fire more shots before reloading. Dean said it’s not clear if Long did reload during the shooting, or how many times.

Mourners gathered for a vigil on Wednesday evening as smoke from a fast-moving, nearby wildfire billowed over them.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Ventura Country Sheriff Geoff Dean said Long was found dead. Police believe he shot himself, but are not yet sure of the details that led to his death.

California shooting survivor went to high school with the gunman

Earlier, people stood in line for hours to give blood. 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. Many people walked past TV cameras with blank stares or tears in their eyes. In the parking lot, some comforted each other with hugs or a pat on the back.

These Are the Victims of the Thousand Oaks Borderline Bar Shooting in California

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.

The Borderline Bar & Grill in Southern California shooting left 13 dead, including the shooter. Police said they cannot confirm a motive for the shooting.

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.

The shooter who opened fire inside a California country bar Wednesday night has been identified as 28-year-old U.S. Marine veteran Ian David Long by police.

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

Authorities haven’t identified what motivated Long to open fire during college night at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, around 64 kilometres from downtown Los Angeles. The dead included 11 people inside the bar and a veteran sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer through the door.

“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.”

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

One ruckus in April was so extreme that they called law enforcement. Authorities brought in a mental health specialist who concluded that Long could not be involuntarily committed for psychiatric observation but worried the 28-year-old Marine veteran might have post-traumatic stress disorder.

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

During his service, Long’s marriage fell apart. He and his wife separated in June 2011, while he was deployed on a seven-month tour in Afghanistan. The couple cited irreconcilable differences in divorce papers filed in May 2013, two months after Long left the Marines.

“Theres no indication that he targeted the employees. We havent found any correlation,” the sheriff said. “Maybe there was a motive for this particular night, but we have no information leading to that at all.”

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.

12 killed in California bar: Shooting suspect was a decorated Marine veteran

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.

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.

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.

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

Additional units arrived and recovered a single handgun, officials said. At least 23 others were injured in the attack, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department told HuffPost. Some of the injured were rescued and taken to local hospitals, and others with minor wounds took themselves to hospitals. 

Long was armed with a Glock 21, a .45- calibre pistol designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber, according to the sheriff. But it had an extended magazine — one capable of holding more ammunition — that is illegal in California, Dean said.

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.

12 killed in US bar shooting

Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman arrived at the club around 11:20 p.m. in response to several 911 calls, heard gunfire and went inside, the sheriff said. Helus was shot immediately, Dean said.

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

Fast-moving wildfires threaten Southern California, forcing more than 100,000 to flee

The highway patrolman pulled Helus out, then waited as a SWAT team and other officers arrived. Helus died at a hospital.

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.

By the time officers entered the bar again — about 15 to 20 minutes later, according to the sheriffs office — the gunfire had stopped. They found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman, who was discovered in an office, the sheriff said.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — One was a veteran police officer who didnt hesitate to run toward danger. Another was an art student who worked with children at her church. Others were a Navy veteran, an a cappella singer who worked as a caregiver, and a security guard with a "big personality" who was known for making sure everyone got home safely.

Video: Dozen killed in California bar shooting

“Theres no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect,” said Dean, who was set to retire Friday. He praised the slain officer — a close friend — as a hero: “He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price.”

"He was a very, very big personality and had a very, very gorgeous smile," she said, adding that he had once considered becoming a police officer. "I dont think in all the years Ive known him, and its almost 30, I ever heard him say no to someone."

One other person was wounded by gunfire, and as many as 15 others suffered minor injuries from jumping out windows or diving under tables, authorities said.

Thousand Oaks shooting victim confirmed as survivor of Americas worst ever mass shooting a year ago

For several hours after the violence, survivors gathered in the dark, some sobbing and hugging as they awaited word on the fate of friends as ambulances idled nearby. Several men were bare-chested after using their shirts to plug wounds and tie tourniquets.

Taxin reported from Santa Ana and Boone from Boise, Idaho. Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers in Lose Angeles, Terry Tang and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix, Christopher Weber in Thousand Oaks, Julie Watson in San Diego and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed.

Around midday, the body of the slain sheriffs officer was taken by motorcade from the hospital to the coroners office. Thousands of people stood along the route or pulled over in their vehicles to watch the hearse pass.

Cody Coffman, who had just turned 22, was talking with Army recruiters and preparing to fulfil his dream of serving his country, said his father, Jason Coffman, who wept as he told a group of reporters that his first-born son was among the victims.

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

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, choking back tears.

Photos on Orfanos Facebook page show the former Eagle Scout with friends at ballgames or at work. Some photos are embellished with patriotic graphics and another marks the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Wildfires threaten Thousand Oaks as huge blazes advance on suburb which lost 12 during mass shooting

AP journalists 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.