A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Thousand Oaks Community Shocked By Borderline Shooting

1060451874015330305

Last Updated: Nov. 8, 4:56 p.m.:

An officer and at least 11 victims were killed, with another 22 injured, in a mass shooting on Nov. 7 around 11:15 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Borderline Bar and Grill.

It was college night for the bar, and students as young as 18 years old from Pepperdine and Cal Lutheran University were present.

“It just feels like it’s an attack on our community,” Cal Lutheran student body president, Nick Steinwender, told KTLA-TV.

Ricardo Rodriguez, a 21-year-old Pepperdine University student said he received an email from the college’s president, Andrew K. Benton, informing them of the incident.

“The University has learned that multiple Pepperdine students were at the venue at the time of the shooting, including students from Seaver College and the School of Law,” Benton wrote in the email.

“The scene is horrific with blood everywhere,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said at a press conference on Nov. 8.

The gunman, a 28-year-old who previously served in the Marine Corps, used smoke bombs and one Glock 21, a 45 caliber handgun to attack over 100 people.

His gun was designed to hold a magazine of 10 rounds, but it had an extended magazine as well. It was legally purchased.

“When officers went in and made reentry, he was already deceased,” Dean added.

The shooter served from 2008 until 2013 and was a machine gunner in Afghanistan at the rank of corporal, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

Police have had interactions with the shooter in the past, Dean said.

The interactions were for a traffic citation and traffic collision, and in 2015, police did a 5150 evaluation. Police did not deem him dangerous enough to put the shooter on a psychiatric hold at the time.

A former roommate, Blake Winnett, called him strange and not particularly friendly.

“He was kind of weird. He always locked himself in his room, he was always by himself,” said the 35-year-old Winnett. “I didn’t really know him very well.”

A neighbor, Tom Hanson, also thought the shooter had issues.

“I assumed he was getting some type of mental health treatment and follow-up on that,” Hanson said. “Since that time, there has not been any more of those types of problems here.”

A neighbor, Richard Berge, said the shooter’s mother was troubled by his behavior and wanted him to get help, but the shooter refused it.

“I have never seen him outside,” another neighbor said. “We all knew about him.”

People now know about the officer who gave his life during the shooting.

Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29 year veteran on the force, was the first to enter the bar and was fatally wounded. He was going to retire soon and died at a nearby hospital.

A funeral procession took place for the officer on Nov. 8.

“Ron… gave his all, and tonight he died a hero because he went in to save lives,” Dean said.

Kayla Simmons and Holden Harrah were witnesses to the scene. Simmons saw smoke and heard 18-20 rounds at a time, and Harrah saw a gentleman with a beard in a black trench coat.

“This was a place to hang out and be with friends,” Harrah said. “A gentleman came in and shot this girl working behind the counter, I hope she is alive.”

Jason Coffman’s son was at Borderline, and Coffman said that his son’s phone is still at the bar.

“This is tearing me up.”

This came as a shock to the Thousand Oaks community, which has been ranked one of the safest in the country.

“We are consistently ranked one of the highest with respect to the lowest crime rate per capita. We are proud of that,” Thousand Oaks mayor Andy Fox said.

Community responses are just beginning.

A procession is taking place Northbound on the 101 freeway for Sgt. Ron Helus the procession began at 10 a.m. at Los Robles Hospital on West Janns Road, and the hearse reached the medical examiner’s office in Ventura a few minutes before 11 a.m.

Several citizens and other first responders are lined along nearly every single overpass to show their respect for the fallen officer. It was unique to see several cars on the other side of the freeway also pulling over to show support.

Helus was in law enforcement for 29 years and was set to retire within the next year. He leaves behind a wife and a son, and he called her before going in.

“He said, ‘hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,'” Dean said.

Helus did not wait for back up, and just entered the bar as soon as he arrived to try and save lives.

“This was in his blood. He had just a natural instinct for going after crooks, and he did it with enthusiasm, with a great deal of intelligence,” Sgt. Eric Buschow said of Helus’ bravery to CNN.

To donate blood, there was a Fall Blood Drive at the La Reina High School and La Reina Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be another drive from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, and to register they can link at

They posted that donations can be made through their Facebook page or verified donation site.

Around $11,864 of a $50,000 goal has been raised by 220 people in four hours on a verified gofundme campaign.

Cal State Chanel Islands is just a couple miles from Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks and at least five known students were present last nights during the mass shooting.

President Beck of Cal State Channel Islands has addressed the Borderline College Night shooting and informs that five students were known to have made it out safely.

She goes on to inform that an emergency hotline has been established to help out at 805-465-6650.

There is also a Family Assistance Center set up at 1375 E. Janss Rd. in Thousand Oaks.

The campus has counselors available through Counseling and Psychology Services during open hours and 24 hour psychological support available at 805-437-2088.

Pepperdine has a prayer service at noon in the Smoothers Theatre. The college newspaper, The Pepperdine Graphic, reported that 20 students were at the event and that Alaina Housley has been reported as still missing.

Housley was later reported dead in a school email.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Joshua Sanchez is the former Editor in Chief and News Editor of SAC.Media. He was previously the managing editor of LAHS' student newspaper, The Conqueror. A portfolio of his reporting work can be found at jdjoshsan.wordpress.com.
Berenize Montoya is a staff reporter for SAC.Media and @SAConSCene
Audrey Parayno, Author
Lorena Alvarez, Author
Alinna Booklun, Author
Natalie Lu, Editor in Chief
Natalie Lu is the former editor-in-chief of SAC.Media. You'll generally find her listening to K-pop, watching Brooklyn 99, gushing over her two cats or finding out what weird thing is trending on social media now.
Kevina Garcia, Author
Brianna Roach, Author

Comments (0)

All SACMedia Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *