Details emerge in Borderline mass shootingFree Access

Officer killed trying to stop shooter


Two men run from the scene at Borderline Bar and Grill as the shooting unfolds around 11:20 p.m. Nov. 7.    JOEL COUNCIL/Acorn Newspapers

Ventura County firefighters salute as a motorcade takes the body of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus from Los Robles Hospital to the county medical examiner’s office in Ventura.                                                              RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thousand Oaks, long ranked among the safest cities in the U.S., has suffered America’s latest mass shooting.
Police say Ian David Long, a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Newbury Park, opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun around 11:20 p.m. Nov. 7 at Borderline Bar & Grill on Moorpark Road, which was hosting its weekly College Country Night.

An estimated 175 people were enjoying music and friendship inside the popular nightclub, including students from surrounding colleges Cal Lutheran University, Pepperdine University, Cal State Channel Islands and Moorpark College.

Police confirmed 13 people are dead, including Long, who died of a gunshot wound, possibly self-inflicted. Another 10 to 20 clubgoers were injured, many of them local college students.

Among the deceased is Sgt. Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, a 29-year veteran of the department who along with two California Highway Patrol officer rushed into the nightclub to confront the shooter, police said.

Helus, 54, a Moorpark resident, was met by hail of bullets, police said. CHP officers Todd Barret and Lidia Espinoza were able to pull the sergeant from the line of fire, but Helus died a few hours later at the hospital as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

“He died a hero,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said of Helus at a 2:45 a.m. press conference held in a staging area at Janss Marketplace on the other side of the freeway from the shooting site.

Fighting back tears, Dean, who was serving his last day as sheriff, described Helus as a “hardworking, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant” just a year from retirement.

“He gave his all . . . he went in to save lives, to save other people,” Dean said.

Others killed in the attack: Sean Adler, 48; Cody Coffman, 22; Blake Dingman, 21; Jake Dunham; Alaina Housley, 18; Justin Meek, 23; Telemachus Orfanos; Kristina Morisette and Noel Sparks, 21.

Panic inside Borderline

Nick Steinwender, CLU’s student body president, told the Acorn that Borderline—with its large dance floor, thumping music and reasonable prices—is a popular destination for classmates, especially on Wednesdays for College Country Night and line dancing.

“Some had to break down windows to escape,” Steinwender said shortly after midnight Nov. 8.

According to witnesses, Long, dressed in dark clothing, walked up to the entrance of the bar, shot the security guard with a handgun and then began shooting at the cashiers near the front door. Police said he used his mother’s car to get to Borderline.

At one point Long had to reload, giving some inside a chance to escape, witnesses said. Students shared stories of using barstools to bust through the club’s glass windows to get away.
Borderline owner Brian Hynes, a longtime local resident, was reached for comment Thursday.

“At this point I’m just working with local and federal authorities to give them what information I can. It was horrible and so close to home, knowing every staff member that was there,” he said. “I’m trying to grieve myself as well. I don’t know what to say or do in a situation like this.”

CLU cancelled classes Thursday in the wake of the shooting and held a vigil at its chapel.
Shooting victim Meek was a recent CLU graduate.

“Our hearts are filled with such sorrow over the violence that has taken place in Thousand Oaks. Our hearts are heavy. There are no words to express such sorrow,” CLU vice president Melinda Roper and campus pastor Melissa Maxwell-Doherty said in a Thursday morning statement to students.

Coffman was a Camarillo native who graduate from Adolfo Camarillo High School. His father, Jason, joined other families at the Thousand Oaks Teen Center on Janss Road to receive information from authorities.

Outside he said his son’s legacy is one of love and laughter.

“The last thing I told him was, ‘Son, I love you,’” Jason Coffman said.

Troy Slaten is an attorney representing  Hynes. He said Hynes arrived at the Borderline after the first shots were fired.

“He got there shortly after it began,” he said. “He was there while it was still going on. He was helping to rescue the victims.”

Slate described Hynes as an “amazing guy” who held a charity concert to benefit the victims of the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas after several of his personal friends were killed in that mass shooting last year.

“I don’t think anyone is OK in the wake of this. This was his friends and family. Everyone who works there is a family. He feels like his family has been destroyed in many ways. It’s like everyone’s lives have been destroyed.”

He declined to talk about the kind of security the bar has in place.

The shooter
Long attended Newbury Park High School, where he played varsity baseball, and graduated when? He went on to become a Marine Corps corporal who served from 2008 to 2013, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Long was a machine gunner who deployed to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. He received multiple military service awards including the Combat Action Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Award, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

“The Marine Corps extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this senseless tragedy,” the statement said.

Long lived with his mother on Fowler Avenue, a quiet street in Newbury Park with sweeping views of Mount Boney and its foothills.

Jeff Moss is a commercial mortgage broker who lives five doors down from the Longs. He said he learned of the shooting when a neighbor called him to ask if his daughter was OK.

When Moss looked outside his front door, he saw FBI vehicles, law enforcement officers and news vans.

“It was a shock,” he said.

Moss said Long’s mother took care of her yard and often walked her three German shepherds around the neighborhood. They would sometimes chat over their mutual love of dogs. He said he had nothing but positive interactions with the mother.

“She seemed great. She was always super nice. We always chatted up about the dogs,” he said. “

Moss said he never saw or met Long and had no idea he was living down the street from a veteran, although he would sometimes see a truck parked outside with a Marine Corps sticker on it. He described it as a quiet neighborhood.

“You wouldn’t expect that in this town for sure,” he said. “If you could pick a neighborhood where that couldn’t happen, you would probably pick this one for sure.”

Neighbors on the quiet street where Long lived with his mother said they didn’t know the shooter personally but they were aware he was troubled.

Jim Ballard, who lives across the street from the Longs, said neighbors would sometimes share stories of Long “banging around” inside the home. The retired grocery manager said he witnessed the scene when police responded to the home in April.

When he walked into his front yard to see what the commotion was about, he said he saw a sheriff’s deputy in the driveway with his gun pointed at Long. He said after that incident, he assumed Long no longer had a firearm.

“I thought they took his gun away,” he said.

Greg Beastron lives at the top of the street where Long lived with his mother. He said his wife had seen the man in front of his house before and said he “seemed not right.”

The 57-year-old voice actor has lived on the street for 12 years. He said his wife and other women in the neighborhood would chat with Long’s mother as she walked her dogs around the neighborhood.

He said Long had a history of service-related PTSD and his mother struggled to get her son the treatment he needed.

“She said she was frustrated,” she said. “You’d think being a vet, you could get some help through the VA or something.”

Later in the day, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox, speaking from the city’s teen center, which was being used as a staging area for city staff and victims’ families, addressed the question of safety in the city and Thousand Oaks being ranked among the nation’s safest towns.

Thousand Oaks was one of the safest communities in our country yesterday and it is one of the safest communities in our country today,” Fox said. “This was a senseless act of violence and no amount of preparation or security is going to prevent somebody who wants to do harm to others.”

Healing, not statistics and rankings was on the mayor’s mind Thursday.

“As a community, we’re going to start the healing process with a prayer vigil tonight at the Civic Arts Plaza,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to put our arms around the families that lost loved ones, support one another “

— This story was updated at 6:00 p.m. Nov. 8.

Dawn Megli-Thuna and Becca Whitnall contributed to this story.