Shooting in Thousand Oaks Leaves Twelve Dead, Thousands Mourning

Did you know that there have been over 300 mass shootings across the country in this year alone? There have been a total of 307 mass shootings of 2018, many of these incidences having an average of five to six deaths; however, the recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California was recorded as the deadliest shooting of 2018 with twelve victims.

On Wednesday, November 7th, a tragedy struck Thousand Oaks, California.  David Ian Long, 28, walked towards Borderline Bar & Grill, armed with a Glock 21, a .45-caliber handgun. He shot a security guard outside of Borderline Bar & Grill, threw a smoke bomb into the front of the bar, and shot more than a dozen people. The incident lasted about 3 minutes once he began shooting into a crowd of about 40 people on the dance floor, many of which were students from nearby colleges. People began breaking windows to escape, hiding behind objects such as pool tables, and running in the attic to escape the shots. The shooter was eventually found dead later after shooting himself.

There were a total of twelve people dead after this tragic event: eleven people killed on the scene, a deputy who died later the following morning, and many others injured. Of the twelve victims of the shooting, eight people were under 25 years of age, the youngest victim only 18 years old, Alaina Housley, a freshman at Pepperdine University. One of the victims, Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was a survivor of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. In response to this recent disaster, his mother Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said, “He didn’t come home last night and I don’t want prayers, I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control and I hope nobody else sends me any more prayers.”

Another victim of the shooting, Deputy Sergeant Ron Helus, was walking into the bar to respond to the shooting when he was shot several times by the gunman and died the following morning. He was the oldest victim, 54, and was looking forward to retiring in the next year, but Sheriff Geoff Dead said,“…he died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people.” Funeral services were held later for Sgt. Ron Helus; officers lined outside the Calvary Community Church, saluting his casket. Billy Ray Cyrus paid him a tribute at his memorial service.

The shooter, David Ian Long, was a 28-year-old Marine Corps. veteran. Authorities say he exhibited erratic behavior suggestive of PTSD, but experts say his actions should not be blamed on PTSD. 11-20% of veterans are said to suffer from PTSD, and Rothbaum said that veterans can show “irritability and aggression”, but not account for murder. Rothbaum said, “I get upset when people get scared of veterans with PTSD because they think they are going to be violent, and they’re not.”

The day after the shooting, November 8th, hundreds gathered at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza to mourn the lives lost at Borderline and to remember the victims that died that night trying to save others.

by Lori Claes

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