‘Ev­ery­body down’ as gun­fire be­gins

No short­age of case stud­ies in work­shop on ac­tive as­sailants Ma­rine vet­eran kills 12, him­self at bar in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Jean Mar­bella

For the sev­eral dozen first re­spon­ders at­tend­ing an ac­tive-as­sailant work­shop in An­napo­lis on Thurs­day, there was no short­age of real-life case stud­ies from which to learn, both at home and across the coun­try.

And in fact, the day­long sem­i­nars on how to man­age a mass shoot­ing be­gan with at­ten­dees watch­ing a video clip of the Ven­tura County, Calif., sher­iff chok­ing back sobs as he an­nounced one of his deputies was among the 12 killed Wed­nes­day night when he re­sponded to the Border­line Bar shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks.

“It used to be ev­ery cou­ple of months, and then it was ev­ery month,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Sim­mons of the An­napo­lis Of­fice of Emer­gency Man­age­ment, one of the agen­cies that spon­sored the work- Deputy Sher­iff Ar­mando Viera con­soles an uniden­ti­fied woman as a mo­tor­cade with the body of Ven­tura County Sher­iff's Sgt. Ron Helus passes by.

THOU­SAND OAKS, CALIF. — Us­ing a smoke bomb and a hand­gun, a hooded Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran dressed in black opened fire dur­ing col­lege night at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, killing 12 peo­ple and send­ing hun­dreds flee­ing in ter­ror be­fore ap­par­ently tak­ing his own life, au­thor­i­ties said Thurs­day.

Au­thor­i­ties said the mo­tive for the at­tack Wed­nes­day night was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The killer was iden­ti­fied as Ian David Long, 28, a for­mer ma­chine gun­ner and vet­eran of the war in Afghanistan who was in­ter­viewed by po­lice at his home last spring af­ter an episode of ag­i­tated be­hav­ior that they were told might be post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

Scream­ing in fear, pa­trons rushed for the ex­its, dived un­der ta­bles and used barstools to smash sec­ond-floor win­dows

and jump to safety as gun­fire re­ver­ber­ated through the Border­line Bar & Grill, a hang­out pop­u­lar with stu­dents from nearby Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Univer­sity.

“I dropped to the floor,” Sarah Rose DeSon told ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica.”

“A friend yelled, “Ev­ery­body down!’ We were hid­ing be­hind ta­bles try­ing to keep our­selves cov­ered.”

The dead in­cluded 11 peo­ple in­side the bar and a vet­eran sher­iff’s sergeant who was the first of­fi­cer in­side the door, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said. “It’s a hor­rific scene in there,” Dean said in the park­ing lot. “There’s blood ev­ery­where.”

All morn­ing, peo­ple look­ing for miss­ing friends and rel­a­tives ar­rived at a com­mu­nity cen­ter where au­thor­i­ties and coun­selors were in­form­ing the next-of-kin of those who died. In the park­ing lot, peo­ple com­forted each other with hugs or a pat on the back.

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. “Oh, Cody, I love you, son,” Coff­man sobbed.

“Sis­ter Sis­ter” ac­tress Tam­era MowryHous­ley and her hus­band said their 18-yearold niece Alaina Housely, a stu­dent at nearby Pep­per­dine Univer­sity, was also among those killed. So was Justin Meek, a 23-year-old re­cent grad­u­ate of Cal Lutheran, ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity.

It was the na­tion’s 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.

Demo­cratic Gov.-elect Gavin New­som, in his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since win­ning of­fice on Tues­day, lamented the vi­o­lence that has come again to Cal­i­for­nia. “It’s a gun cul­ture,” he said. “You can’t go to a bar or night­club? You can’t go to church or syn­a­gogue? It’s in­sane is the only way to de­scribe it. The nor­mal­iza­tion, that’s the only way I can de­scribe it. It’s be­come nor­mal­ized.”

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

Long was armed with a Glock 21, a Mourn­ers em­brace Thurs­day at a teen cen­ter, where loved ones gath­ered af­ter a mass shoot­ing in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif. .45-cal­iber pis­tol de­signed to hold10 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. The killer also de­ployed a smoke de­vice, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Au­thor­i­ties con­verged on Long’s home in New­bury Park, about 5 miles from the Border­line bar, in a search for clues to what set him off. “There’s no in­di­ca­tion that he tar­geted the em­ploy­ees. We haven’t found any cor­re­la­tion,” the sher­iff said.

Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of cor­po­ral and served in Afghanistan in 2010-2011 be­fore he was hon­or­ably dis­charged, the mil­i­tary said. Court records show he mar­ried in 2009 and was di­vorced in 2013.

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 didn’t feel he needed to be hos­pi­tal­ized.

The gun­man first shot a se­cu­rity guard stand­ing out­side, then went in and opened fire on staff mem­bers and pa­trons, the sher­iff said.

Sher­iff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a pass­ing high­way pa­trol­man ar­rived around 11:20 p.m. in re­sponse to sev­eral 911 calls, heard gun­fire and went in­side, the sher­iff said. Helus was im­me­di­ately shot, Dean said. The high­way pa­trol­man pulled Helus out, then waited as a SWAT team and scores more of­fi­cers ar­rived. Helus died at a hos­pi­tal.

By the time of­fi­cers en­tered the bar again, the gun­fire had stopped, ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff. They found 12 peo­ple dead in­side, in­clud­ing the gun­man, who was dis­cov­ered in an of­fice and had ap­par­ently shot him­self, the sher­iff said.

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


Peo­ple cry as a law en­force­ment mo­tor­cade es­corts the body of Ven­tura County Sher­iff's Depart­ment Sgt. Ron Helus from the Los Robles Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter af­ter a gun­man opened fire Wed­nes­day evening in­side a coun­try mu­sic bar.




Sgt. Ron Helus died af­ter re­spond­ing to the shoot­ing.

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