Thousand Oaks Tragedy
On Nov. 8, gunman opened fire during a college night at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, killing at least 12 people including Sgt. Ron Helus and injuring many more.
Around 11:20 p.m., law enforcement personnel received calls about an active shooter inside of the Borderline Bar and Grill. It is a college hangout, where students from Pepperdine University, California State University Channel Islands, Moorpark College and California Lutheran University have a dance line for students.
Ian David long, the gunman, armed with a 21.45 caliber Glock handgun was dressed all in black when he entered the bar and deployed a smoke device. He then began to fire at a security guard, employees and patrons.
A California Highway Patrol officer and a sheriff’s sergeant were the first to arrive on the scene responding within minutes. After hearing gunshots, they went into the bar. The sergeant entered the building and was struck by bullets, and the CHP officer went outside and secured the perimeter until more units arrived. Then, they went inside to recuse the sergeant and found victims who were gun downed.
At a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 8, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters, Sgt. Helus was one of the 12 victims fatally shot. He was a 29-year veteran, close to retiring in 2019, who lived in Moorpark and was survived by his wife and son.
“Ron was a hard-working, dedicated sheriff's sergeant," said Dean, trying to hold back tears. "He was totally committed. He gave his all. Tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero, because he went in to save lives, to save other people."
Dean said Long was a former military veteran of the United States Marine Corps equipped with gun knowledge and honored with several awards. The USMC released Long's service record, detailing that he served from 2008 to 2013, deployed to Afghanistan from Nov. 16, 2010 to June 14, 2011, the USMC said.
Deputies responded last April 2018 to Long's home in Newbury Park over a call of a family disturbance with his mother. Mental health specialists talked to the suspect that day and cleared him, Dean told reporters. Law enforcement officials were at his home as part of the ongoing investigation.
The newly elected governor of California, Gavin Newsom condemned politicians and gun advocates for normalizing mass shooting in the U.S.
“This is America. It’s gotta change. This doesn’t happen anywhere else on the planet earth, and we can’t let folks forget that. We can’t lose sight of that … We can’t allow this to be normalized.” Newsom said.
In an emotional press conference, a father confirmed his son, Cody Coffman, was one the victims killed in the tragedy.
“This was my first-born child son. I am speechless and heartbroken … My life has changed forever,” his father said, as tears came down his face.
On Friday Nov. 9, the Ventura County medical examiner released the names of those killed that day.
Sean Adler, 48 a security guard at Borderline Grill and Bar
Blake Dingman, 21 of Newbury Park
Jake Dunham, 21 of Newbury Park
Alaina Housley, 18 a Pepperdine Unversity freshman
Daniel Manrique, 43 a Marine Corps. veteran
Justin Meek, 23 former student at Cal Lutheran
Marky Meza Jr, 21 worked as a busboy and food runner
Kristina Morisette, 20 worked as a cashier at Borderline Bar and Grill
Telemachus Orfanos, 27 survived the Las Vegas shooting
Noel Sparks, 21 a Moorpark College student
The residents of Thousand Oaks were once again struck with wildfire, after the mass shooting. As wildfire spread through Ventura County, residents were forced to evacuate, including the survivors of the shooting.
To help those affected by the California fires by visiting redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make $10 donation.