Thousands of people pay tribute to victims of Southern California
On Thursday night, hundreds of people came together to remember the lives of the Thousand Oaks victims. It was less than 24 hours since the community, now grieving, went through the horrific tragedy.
CTV News reported that the halls of the Kavli Theater were filled. While impromptu prayer circles littered outside the city hall. They prayed, sang and held hands as they paid tribute in a candlelight vigil.
Some spoke about their lost one's lives. Others put their hands up in prayer. They hugged and comforted each other, strangers or not. A woman sang "Amazing Grace" according to People.
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Thousands Gather to Honor Victims of the Mass Shooting with Tears, Candlelight and Song https://t.co/drfxix3uFl— People (@people) November 9, 2018
A dozen people were killed on Wednesday night and others injured. Most were students, one was a sergeant who jumped in to save lives. The devastation happened at Borderline Bar & Grill during a weekly "College Country Night."
A former Marine entered the country music bar and repeatedly shot patrons. Some fled, others broke windows so they could escape.
But the gunman killed a dozen people before appearing to shoot himself. Sergeant Ron Helus of the Ventura County sheriff's office was one of the first responders.
Sheriff Geoff Dean said Helus "ran toward danger." He was shot several times before being pulled out. Dean remembered his workout buddy and beloved friend:
"When I told her (his wife) that we had lost her hero, I said to her: 'Because of Ron, many lives were saved. And she looked at me through her tears and she said: 'He would have wanted it that way.' "
The mayor, Andy Fix, spoke on the future of the community:
"Hope has sustained communities, very much like Thousand Oaks, through the exact same triages of mass shootings. Tonight Thousand Oaks takes its place with those cities, who in order to move forward will rely on hope. we are Thousand Oaks strong."
#BREAKING @ABC7: Family members are now being notified if their loved ones are among the victims killed in the Thousand Oaks mass shooting. Family and friends who have loved ones missing our urged to go to the reunification center at 1375 Janns Rd. #ThousandOaksShooting pic.twitter.com/WvVPqS7HIQ— Brandi Hitt (@ABC7Brandi) November 8, 2018
Among the dead was also a former survivor of the Las Vegas slaughter which occurred in 2017. Telemachus Orfanus, 27, sadly lost his life the second time around.
His mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos emotionally spoke to the media:
"My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. 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 to God nobody sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!"
Los Angeles has been known and documented as one of the safest cities in America. Dani Merrill, a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting, was appalled that it happened again in her hometown.
"I'm super upset that it happened in our home and I feel awful for the families that have to go through this."
How many mass shootings will it take before they take gun control seriously?— Daniel O'Sullivan (@danosulli44) November 8, 2018
Police identified Ian Long as the gunman who had taken lives and changed the lives of others forever. They have yet to uncover a possible motive to the attack.
Long, 28, is a former Marine Corps. He used an extended magazine to carry out the deadly attack at around 11: 20 p.m. on Wednesday. He wore all black as he entered the country music bar and began shooting.
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