Bar mas­sacre near train­ing com­plex stuns LA Rams

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports - BY GREG BEACHAM

THOU­SAND OAKS

An­drew Whit­worth and most of his Los An­ge­les Rams team­mates live within a few miles of their team’s train­ing com­plex in Thou­sand Oaks. The Border­line Bar and Grill is 5 miles south of their week­day head­quar­ters in this placid sub­ur­ban city.

The Rams all re­acted with hor­ror and sad­ness Thurs­day af­ter a late-night mass shoot­ing oc­curred about 5 miles north of their fields and train­ing rooms.

“It’s gut-wrench­ing, and it’s emo­tional,” said Whit­worth, who lives in Thou­sand Oaks with his wife and four kids. “I was up at 3:30, 4 o’clock read­ing about it, and ended up wak­ing up my wife and talk­ing about it. It’s a hard re­al­ity. … The truth is that tragedy is every­where, and you can’t es­cape tragedy. All you can pre­pare is how you'll han­dle it and how you can ap­proach ad­ver­sity.”

For­mer Marine Ian David Long opened fire Wed­nes­day night at the coun­try mu­sic bar a 10-minute drive from the Rams’ com­plex. He killed 12 peo­ple be­fore ap­par­ently killing him­self.

The Rams be­lieve no one con­nected to their or­ga­ni­za­tion was at the bar, but coach Sean McVay and de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips both de­scribed a somber mood in the Rams’ locker room be­fore prac­tice. Whit­worth ad­dressed the play­ers and be­gan the process of com­ing up with a way to honor the vic­tims.

The team will have a mo­ment of si­lence be­fore its home game Sun­day, and the Rams may or­ga­nize ad­di­tional trib­utes to the vic­tims, McVay said.

“It was very heart­felt through­out the en­tire team,” of­fen­sive guard Rodger Saf­fold said. “We work here, and we spend most of our time out here. When we heard about it, it was very shock­ing. … It just hurt a lot. There’s way too many mass shoot­ings, and this one hit re­ally close to home.”

Phillips de­scribed the shoot­ing as a “hor­ri­ble tragedy.”

“It’s a sad, sad deal, and we feel for the peo­ple it hap­pened to,” Phillips said. “But it doesn’t just af­fect those peo­ple. It af­fects ev­ery­body, and our play­ers are gen­uinely and greatly con­cerned about it, as we all are.”

MAR­CIO JOSE SANCHEZ AP

Mourn­ers hug at the Thou­sand Oaks Teen Cen­ter, where rel­a­tives and friends gath­ered Thurs­day in the af­ter­math of a mass shoot­ing.

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