Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting Takes 12 Lives—Including One Pepperdine Student

Just hours before the Woolsey and Hill Fires erupted, Pepperdine University—and the greater Malibu community—were dealing with another unthinkable tragedy.

Twelve people were killed in a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday night, Nov. 7.

Alaina Housley, an 18-year-old Pepperdine freshman, was among those murdered. The others were Blake Dingman, Cody Coffman, Daniel Manrique, Jake Dunham, Justin Meek, Kristin Morisette, Mark Meza, Noel Sparks, Sgt. Ron Helus, Sean Adler and Telemachus Orfanos—several of them were residents of the area. 

It was “College Country Night” at the Western-style bar; a popular destination for young people aged 18-21, Pepperdine University and California Lutheran University students were confirmed to be at the bar when the shooting started. Pepperdine said 16 of its students were there at the time.

Two students were injured, and were treated and released from a nearby hospital. Housley’s fate was not clear until later in the day Thursday, Nov. 8.

As reported by The Washington Post, calls about the shooting came in at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday.

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Authorities said people in the bar immediately ran for exits, some heading out of a window after it was broken and some hiding in the attic or the bathroom, or under tables.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were among the first to respond to the incident. Helus was wounded upon entering the bar and later died at Los Robles Medical Center. He was a 29-year veteran of the department who was said to be looking forward to retirement in 2019.

“There’s no doubt they saved lives,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in a press conference. “I’ve heard [there were] anywhere between 150-200 people [inside].”

Dean said six off-duty police officers were also at the venue and helped protect others.

He said one person suffered from a minor gunshot injury and another eight to 15 people suffered from minor injuries—“mostly cuts.” They were transported to a hospital.

Around noon, Alaina’s aunt, actress Tamera Mowry-Housley, and uncle, former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, confirmed her death in a public statement. 

“Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner,” the shared statement read, according to ABC7 News.

In a statement shared online by Adam, Alaina’s parents—Arik and Hannah—said, “Words can’t describe our grief over losing our daughter, Alaina. She was everything we could hope for in a child: kind, smart, beautiful and respectful.”

Arik and Hannah flew in from Napa Valley early Nov. 8, as confirmed by the Pepperdine Graphic

“She would have enjoyed the public debate that is certain to happen after this tragedy. But she would have insisted that it be respectful with an eye toward solving these senseless shootings,” the family statement read.

Alaina followed in the footsteps of her parents and uncle, who all attended Pepperdine as well.

According to Pepperdine student Logan Hall, with NewsWaves32, Housley was majoring in English at the university.

The gunman was identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a Newbury Park resident and Marine Corps veteran. He reportedly drove to the scene before opening fire. 

He later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

The gun, legally purchased, was identified as a .45-caliber Glock 21 designed in California to hold 10 rounds. The gunman had illegally purchased and added an extended magazine for more rounds.

The university held a prayer service in light of the shooting and victims on noon Thursday at the Smothers Theatre on campus. 

A procession was held for Helus on Thursday, when he was transported from Los Robles Hospital to the Ventura County Medical Examiner-Coroner.

While on campus during the Woolsey Fire, Pepperdine Graphic News Editor Madeleine Carr said, “We’re in close quarters with one another, but it’s been good to have a community feeling amidst everything the campus has gone through these past few days.” 


 

A number of resources are available to the Pepperdine community:  

*Students can contact the university Counseling Center for emotional and psychological support at 310.506.4210 or email student.counseling.center@pepperdine.edu.

*Faculty and staff can also access counseling services. Details are available on the HR website or by calling 310.506.4397.

*Religious support is also available for the community. Contact chaplain Sara Barton at sara.barton@pepperdine.edu or associate chaplain Eric Wilson at eric.wilson@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.4275.

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