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California town grieves shooting victims

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 11/09/18, 11:15 am

UPDATE: Hundreds of people gathered Thursday evening in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to remember the 12 people who died in a mass shooting Wednesday night at Borderline Bar and Grill. The victims included 27-year-old Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos, a Navy veteran who survived the deadly shooting attack at a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. Several other Vegas survivors were at college night at Borderline when Ian David Long, 28, opened fire before apparently turning the gun on himself.

“I already didn’t wish it on anybody to begin with for the first time,” said Brendan Kelly, who lived through both shootings. “The second time around doesn’t get any easier.”

Investigators said a mental health specialist who visited Long’s house in April after a domestic disturbance concluded he did not meet the criteria for involuntary commitment.

“The mental health experts out there cleared him that day,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Thursday.

OUR EARLIER REPORT (11/8/18, 5:55 p.m.): Authorities and family members are beginning to identify those killed during Wednesday night’s mass shooting at a Southern California bar. Among the 12 victims were Justin Meek, a 23-year-old recent graduate of California Lutheran University; Alaina Housley, an 18-year-old student at Pepperdine University who planned to go to law school; and Cody Coffman, a 22-year-old who was about to join the Army. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed earlier that Sgt. Ron Helus also died while responding to the shooting at the crowded Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Authorities said the shooter, 28-year-old Ian David Long, was a former machine gunner and Afghanistan war veteran. He was found dead in the bar after apparently turning the gun on himself. Police interviewed him at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behavior, possibly from post-traumatic stress disorder. As Long opened fire in the bar, which was hosting a college night, patrons dived under tables, ran for the exits, broke windows to escape, or hid in restrooms and the attic.

“Unfortunately our young people, people at nightclubs, have learned that this may happen, and they think about that,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. “Fortunately it helped save a lot of lives that they fled the scene so rapidly.” Several of the survivors said they were also at the outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas last year when a gunman in a high-rise hotel killed 58 people.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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