Yahoo! News Photo Staff

Grief in California — mourning the Thousand Oaks massacre victims

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https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-grieving-mourning-thousand-oaks-slideshow-wp-191716309.html

The mourners gathered to hold hands, to sing and to wonder how one of the safest cities in America could become a killing zone.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday evening to remember the dozen people shot and killed by a Marine veteran at the packed Borderline Bar & Grill the night before.

It was a scene of horror enacted in many places around the country in recent months, but never before in Thousand Oaks.

Terrified patrons who had gathered for the weekly line dancing and college night hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as shots erupted. Twelve people were killed including Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran nearing retirement who responded to reports of shots fired and was gunned down as he entered the bar.

The killer, Ian David Long, 28, was a former machine gunner and Afghanistan war veteran who was interviewed by police at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behavior that authorities were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.  (AP)

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People gather to pray for the victims of a mass shooting during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)


Mourners embrace during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


Mourners attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)


People gather for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the Borderline Bar & Grill held at the Fred Kavli Theater, on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Mourners are seen at a vigil for families of victims of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)


Mourners are seen at a vigil for families of victims of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)


Boxes of battery powered candles and tissue await people arriving for a vigil at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, following the mass shooting, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)


Mourners embrace during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


A mourner arrives with a picture of one of her friends at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)


Justin Veditz, left, and his girlfriend Taylor Van Molt hug during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Veditz and Van Molt both were in attendance as terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran killed multiple people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatized by mass shootings. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


Mourners attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)


People attend the memorial to mourn the victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)


Dani Merrill, left, who survived both the Las Vegas concert shooting and the Thousand Oaks bar shooting conducts an interview during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


Mourners cry and comfort each other during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on Nov. 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)


People gather outside the Rivalry Roasters coffee shop for a vigil for Sean Adler Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Simi Valley, Calif. Adler was killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)


Mourners cry and comfort each other during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on Nov. 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)


Relatives of victims mourn over the death of bar shooting rampage at Los Robles Medical Center in Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Qian Weizhong/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)


Jordan Hopkins places his hand on the photo of Sean Adler during a vigil at the Rivalry Roasters coffee shop Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Simi Valley, Calif. Adler was killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)


Flags fly at half-staff at the Washington Monument, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, in Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Theiler/Reuters)


People look on from an overpass as a motorcade with the body of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus passes by Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Newbury Park, Calif. Helus was fatally shot while responding to a mass shooting at a country music bar in Southern California. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


People pray before the procession for the Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was shot and killed in a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ringo Chiu/Reuters)


Firefighters raise a flag at Los Robles Hospital to hang over the procession carrying the body of Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed in a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill, on November 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)


With tears in her eyes Kendall Johnson brought her son 2- year-old Chase Johnson to the Borchard Road overpass over the 101 freeway to watch the procession for the body of the Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt Ron Helus who was once their Moorpark neighbor and was killed on Nov. 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


People attend the procession for the Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was shot and killed in a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ringo Chiu/Reuters)


A law enforcement motorcade, providing an escort for a hearse carrying the body of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, makes its way northbound on Highway 101 Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Newbury Park, Calif. Helus was fatally shot while responding to a mass shooting at a country music bar in Southern California. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)


Madison Fuller of Thousand Oaks reacts as she watches from an overpass as a procession for the body of Sergeant Ron Helus, who died in a shooting incident at a Thousand Oaks bar, drives down Ventura HIghway 101 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)


The body of Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was shot and killed in a mass shooting at a bar is transferred to a hearse for procession from the Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ringo Chiu/Reuters)


People place flowers near the scene of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., after a gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people including a responding sheriff’s sergeant. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)


A woman hold a flower attends the procession for the Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who was shot and killed in a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018. (Photo: Ringo Chiu/Reuters)


Front pages of New York newspapers on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 report on the shooting by former Marine, Ian David Long on Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Photo: Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts via ZUMA Press)