Terrified patrons hurled barstools via home windows to flee or threw their our bodies protectively on high of pals as a Marine fight veteran killed 12 individuals at a rustic music bar in an assault that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatized by mass shootings.

Dressed all in black together with his hood pulled up, the gunman apparently took his personal life as police massed on the Borderline Bar & Grill in Southern California.

The motive for the assault late Wednesday night time was below investigation.

The killer , Ian David Lengthy, 28, was a former machine gunner and Afghanistan battle veteran who was interviewed by police at his residence final spring after an episode of agitated conduct that authorities have been instructed is likely to be post-traumatic stress dysfunction.

Opening hearth with a handgun with an unlawful, extra-large journal, Lengthy shot a safety guard outdoors after which went in and took purpose at workers and patrons, authorities stated. He additionally used a smoke bomb, in accordance with a legislation enforcement official who was not approved to debate the investigation publicly and spoke on situation of anonymity.

Survivors of the rampage — principally younger individuals who had gone out for faculty night time on the Borderline, a hangout well-liked with college students from close by California Lutheran College — appeared to know what to do, having come of age in an period of active-shooter drills and lethal rampages occurring with terrifying frequency.

A number of of the survivors stated they have been additionally on the out of doors nation music competition in Las Vegas final yr when a gunman in a high-rise lodge killed 58 individuals.

Most of the lots of of patrons dived below tables, ran for the exits, broke via home windows or hid within the attic and bogs, authorities and witnesses stated.

“Sadly our younger individuals, individuals at nightclubs, have realized that this may occasionally occur, and they give thought to that,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean stated. “Thankfully it helped save quite a lot of lives that they fled the scene so quickly.”

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Matt Wennerstrom stated he pulled individuals behind a pool desk, and he and pals shielded ladies with their our bodies after listening to the photographs. When the gunman paused to reload, Wennerstrom stated, he used a barstool to shatter a window after which helped about 30 individuals escape. He heard one other volley of photographs after they bought out.

“All I needed to do was get as many individuals out of there as doable,” he instructed KABC-TV. “I do know the place I am going if I die, so I used to be not frightened.”

The lifeless included a veteran sheriff’s deputy who rushed in to confront the gunman, in addition to 22-year-old man who deliberate to hitch the Military, a freshman at close by Pepperdine College and a latest Cal Lutheran graduate.

“It is a horrific scene in there,” Dean stated within the parking zone. “There’s blood all over the place.”

The tragedy left a group that’s yearly listed as one of many most secure cities in America reeling. Scores of individuals confirmed as much as donate blood for the wounded.

All morning, individuals searching for lacking pals and relations arrived at a group middle the place authorities and counselors have been informing the next-of-kin of those that died. Many walked previous TV cameras with clean stares or tears of their eyes. Within the parking zone, individuals comforted one another with hugs or a pat on the again.

Jason Coffman obtained the information that his son Cody, 22, who was about to hitch the Military, was lifeless. Coffman broke down as he instructed reporters how his final phrases to his son as he went out that night time have been to not drink and drive and that he cherished him.

“Oh, Cody, I really like you, son,” Coffman sobbed.

It was the nation’s deadliest such assault since 17 college students and academics have been killed at a Parkland, Florida, highschool 9 months in the past. It additionally got here lower than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 individuals at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Democratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first public look since successful workplace on Tuesday, lamented the violence that has come once more to California.

“It is a gun tradition,” he stated. “You may’t go to a bar or nightclub? You may’t go to church or synagogue? It is insane is the one option to describe it. The normalization, that is the one approach I can describe it. It is turn out to be normalized.”

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President Donald Trump praised police for his or her “nice bravery” within the assault and ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.

Authorities converged on Lengthy’s residence in Newbury Park, about 5 miles from the Borderline bar, in a seek for clues to what set him off.

“There is not any indication that he focused the staff. We have not discovered any correlation,” the sheriff stated. “Possibly there was a motive for this specific night time, however we have now no data resulting in that in any respect.”

Lengthy was within the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11 earlier than he was honorably discharged, the navy stated. Courtroom information present he married in 2009 and was divorced in 2013.

Authorities stated he had no legal file, however in April officers have been referred to as to his residence, the place deputies discovered him indignant and performing irrationally. The sheriff stated officers have been instructed he might need PTSD due to his navy service. A psychological well being specialist met with him and did not really feel he wanted to be hospitalized.

Tom Hanson, 70, who lives subsequent door to Lengthy and his mom, stated Thursday that he referred to as the police about six months in the past when he heard “heavy-duty banging” and shouting coming from the Longs’ residence.

“I used to be involved as a result of I knew he had been within the navy,” he stated.

Hanson stated the sheriff’s deputy who arrived took his data, however he by no means realized extra about what occurred and hadn’t spoken to Lengthy since then.

Lengthy was armed with a Glock 21, a .45-caliber pistol designed to carry 10 rounds plus one within the chamber, in accordance with the sheriff. However it had an prolonged journal — one able to holding extra ammunition — that’s unlawful in California, Dean stated.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing freeway patrolman arrived on the membership round 11:20 p.m. in response to a number of 911 calls, heard gunfire and went inside, the sheriff stated. Helus was instantly shot, Dean stated.

The freeway patrolman pulled Helus out, then waited as a SWAT crew and scores extra officers arrived. Helus died at a hospital.

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By the point officers entered the bar once more, the gunfire had stopped, in accordance with the sheriff. They discovered 12 individuals lifeless inside, together with the gunman, who was found in an workplace, the sheriff stated.

“There is not any doubt that they saved lives by getting into there and fascinating with the suspect,” stated Dean, who was set to retire on Friday. He praised the slain officer — a detailed buddy — as a hero: “He went in there to avoid wasting individuals and paid the last word worth.”

One different individual was wounded by gunfire, and as many as 15 others suffered minor accidents from leaping out home windows or diving below tables, authorities stated.

Shootings of any variety are extraordinarily uncommon in Thousand Oaks, a metropolis of about 130,000 individuals about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Los Angeles, simply throughout the county line.

The Borderline, which has a big dance corridor together with a number of smaller areas for consuming and ingesting, was holding one in all its common “Faculty Nation Nights.”

Nick Steinwender, Cal Lutheran scholar physique president, instructed KTLA-TV he instantly began receiving messages in regards to the taking pictures, and he and his roommate went to the scene to supply rides again to campus or ethical help.

“It’ll be a really somber day,” Steinwender stated. “I do know we do not have all the main points in but, however you realize, it simply feels prefer it’s an assault on our group. You realize, I believe it may be one thing that we will have to come back collectively and transfer previous.”

The bar can also be near a number of different universities, together with California State College Channel Islands in Camarillo, Pepperdine in Malibu and Moorpark Faculty in Moorpark.

Round noon, the physique of the slain sheriff’s officer was taken by motorcade from the hospital to the coroner’s workplace. Hundreds of individuals stood alongside the route or pulled over of their autos to observe the hearse go. Firefighters use two ladder vehicles to lift a large American flag over the route.

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the drive with a spouse and son and deliberate to retire within the coming yr, stated the sheriff, choking again tears.


AP journalists Andrew Dalton, Amanda Lee Myers, John Antczak and Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Michelle A. Monroe in Phoenix and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.


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