Valley News -

13 dead, dozens injured in bar shooting in Thousand Oaks

 

Last updated 11/8/2018 at 3:37pm



THOUSAND OAKS - Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said 13 people died in the shooting at the Borderline bar late Wednesday (Nov. 7) night, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman, identified as 28-year-old former Marine and Cal State Northridge student Ian David Long.

Long, who lived with his mother in Newbury Park, is believed to have committed suicide as law enforcement descended on the club.

Dean said the gunman went to the club around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday, shot a security guard outside, then walked into the building and shot more employees before opening fire on the crowd. It was a country-music-themed college night at the bar, meaning it was open to people aged 18 and over.

Dean said Long was armed with a Glock .45-caliber handgun that had an "extended magazine'' allowing it to hold more than the standard number of 10 bullets. He purchased the gun legally, Dean said, although the magazine extension would make it illegal in the state.

Among the first responders to the shooting scene was Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, who burst into the club with a California Highway Patrol officer. Dean said there was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect, and Helus was struck. The CHP officer managed to pull Helus from the building, and the sergeant was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The 54-year-old Helus, a 29-year-veteran of the department, was a married father of a grown son. He had just called his wife and told her he loved her before he responded to the Borderline bar, Dean said.

When additional law enforcement arrived and entered the building, they found the gunman in an office near the club's entrance, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot, Dean said. There was no immediate word on a motive for the shooting.

Dean said sheriff's officials had limited contact with Long over the years, including once over a traffic collision. He said deputies went to his home in April due to a disturbance and spoke with Long, but he was not arrested and was not considered a danger or a candidate to be taken into custody for a mental-health evaluation.

Some neighbors told reporters that Long suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Long, who was a Marine from August 2008 to March 2013 and served seven months in Afghanistan as a machine-gunner, lived with his mother in Newbury Park. According to the Department of Defense, he earned various commendations and honors, including a good conduct medal. He attended CSUN from 2013-16, studying athletic training, according to the university. He did not graduate.

About 10 a.m., a solemn procession of numerous law enforcement and first responder vehicles escorted Helus' body from the Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office in Ventura.

A vigil was planned for 6 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center, said Thousand Oaks Mayor Andrew Fox, who announced a website for people to send donations to assist the victims: http://www.VCCF.org.

Dean said Helus was "a hard-working, dedicated sheriff's sergeant. He died a hero because he went in to save other people.''

More than a dozen other people were injured in the shooting, authorities said, many of them suffering cuts or scrapes as they ducked for cover or crawled through windows to get out of the building. Witnesses told stories of people inside the bar using chairs to break windows and help others escape the shooting.

Law enforcement authorities have not officially identified any of the victims, although a Camarillo man identified one of them as his son, 22-year-old Cody Coffman, while Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks identified another as recent graduate Justin Meek, 23.

Former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley told reporters early Thursday that his niece's Apple Watch and iPhone were still pinpointing her location as the Borderline dance floor. The family later confirmed that Alaina Housley, a freshman at Pepperdine, had been killed.

Hemet, Murrieta and Temecula police departments posted tributes to the victims and Helus in a social media post on Thursday.

"Today we mourn the loss of Sgt. Ron Helus and the other victims of the senseless shooting that occurred last night in Thousand Oaks," Hemet Police said in a post. "God Speed Sarge. You are a true hero!"

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Helus’ family and those at the Ventura County Sheriffs Department as well as all the innocent citizens involved with this incident and their families in their time of mourning," Murrieta Police Department said in a post.

"Our love and hearts going out today to all the victims in the Thousand Oaks mass homicide incident from last night, including our brother, Sgt. Ron Helus," Temecula Police Department said in a post. "Let us continue to build together a community that takes care of each other and raises others up in support, care, and concern as we offer our thoughts and prayers to Thousand Oaks."

Ventura County officials established a Family Assistance Center at 1375 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks and released an emergency hotline number that people can call: (805) 465-6650.

 

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