El Paisano

Twelve People Killed After Active Shooting in Thousand Oaks

"He went in to save lives, to save other people. He was totally committed, he gave his all," said Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.

Late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning an active shooter went into a western themed bar in Thousand Oaks and opened fire on a crowd on “College Night” killing 12 people and injuring more than 25.

 

Among the deceased includes local college students, Ventura County Sargent Ron Helus, and the shooter. Calls of the active shooter came in around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday evening, Sgt. Helus was one of the first responders on the scene entering the bar at 11:26 p.m. where he was met by gunfire from the shooter. He later succumbed to his wounds in the hospital passing early Thursday morning.

 

Image via Facebook
Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus.

ABC7
Elementary school kids stood outside for the procession of Sgt. Ron Helus.

 

“He went in to save lives, to save other people. He was totally committed, he gave his all. And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero,” said Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean to CNN.

 

Notably, Helus who had a son and wife risked his life within three minutes of the first reports of gunfire.

 

The shooter has been identified as 28- year-old former Marine, Ian David Long, who was a resident of Newbury Park, California. Reports came in that Long entered the bar and started to throw smoke bombs and didn’t say a word as he opened fire on the crowd.

 

It was reported that he went from each area of the bar firing as many rounds as possible and changed the gun magazine at least twice. It has been confirmed that the gun used was a legally-purchased Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun and had a magazine modification.

 

The modification made it possible for the magazine to hold more rounds, which is illegal in California.

Image via Twitter
Ian David Long in uniform.

 

The Borderline Bar and Grill host a college night every Wednesday for the colleges in the area, along with popular tradition. Colleges include Cal State Channel Islands, Cal Lutheran, Pepperdine University, and Moorpark College.

 

In a press interview Sheriff, Geoff Dean stated that this wasn’t the first time that Long had a run-in with authorities, with reports as recent as April.

 

“Back in April authorities were called out to his home for a complaint of disturbing the peace, Deputies at the time said he was being irate and acting irrationally,” Dean also included that Long was tested for mental health issues after this but it was concluded that he did not need to be taken into custody.

 

A neighbor told CNN that the suspect’s mother “lived in fear” of what her son might do because he did not pursue mental help and said, “it took them about a half a day to get him out of the house.”

 

Long took his own life after the SWAT team had arrived but it is believed that a mental health illness was the main contributor to his decision to carry out this horrific act. Many of the nearby colleges and universities have closed their campuses for Thursday and have a full staff of grief counselors on hand for students that are seeking help. The true motive of the shooting has yet to be uncovered.

 

Witness Tim Dominguez gave an emotional interview to ABC 7 with a heavy heart as he recounted the events after the gunman entered the bar. Dominguez said that he has been going to the bar for 16 years but usually didn’t attended on college night, but his 26-year-old son said he had wanted to go. Dominguez said he heard the shots and the bouncer fall, and he took cover with his son as they witnessed the gunman shot into a crowd of people on the dance floor, “He shot quick, and he was good at it. It looked like he knew what he was doing.”

 

Sheriff Dean described the scene to the press saying it was one of the most gruesome things he had seen, saying there was blood everywhere.

 

Families flooded to the scene in search of loved ones unable to get a hold of them through their cell phones or close friends some have since been reunited. Thousand Oaks teen center has opened up its doors and is acting as a family reunification center, but as the hours go on many of the families and loved ones of the missing have started to lose hope.

 

Jason Coffman, the father of the still missing Cody Coffman, was sent to the teen center waiting for news on his son. Jason spoke to CNN. Jason tracked Cody’s phone with an app and it showed that the phone is still at the club.

 

“We got woken up last night around 1:00 in the morning by some of the girls Cody’s friends, knocking on our door saying that there was a mass shooting at Borderline. Some of his girlfriends got out. But they didn’t know where Cody was. I’m sure he was there helping, shielding anybody that he could. I’m hoping that he is ok,” said Jason, “[His phone] is there. It’s not moving, that’s the problem. His phone is at the club.”

 

Cody Coffman was one of the 13 victims at the shooting, Jason said he was preparing to start a military career. The Borderline Bar and Grill shooting is the 304th shooting this year and the second biggest one in 2018 just behind the mass shooting that killed 17 in Parkland Florida back in April, and not even two weeks after the shooting in Pennsylvania where 11 people died.

 

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Twelve People Killed After Active Shooting in Thousand Oaks