VC Sheriff’s Office Provides Updates on Borderline Bar Shooting

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By Tim Pompey

The recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, in which 28-year-old Newbury Park resident Ian David Long entered the Borderline Bar and Grill and began firing a handgun, was described by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub as a scene where “confusion and chaos can only begin to adequately describe the situation.”

In a press conference held on Tuesday, November 27 by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department at its East County Station in Simi Valley, Ayub and other members of law enforcement gathered to update the community on details from the current investigation.

(L to R) California Highway Patrol Chief L.D. Maples, Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten, Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Young, FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Field Office Paul Delacourt, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub (Podium)

Ayub indicated that the shooting, in which 12 victims, including a Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy, lost their lives, could take months to sort through. For the moment, some new details were released, and some additional information was confirmed.

According to FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Field Office, Paul Delacourt, much of the analysis of the investigation is being handled at FBI facilities in Quantico, Virginia.

Delacourt stated that at the request of Sheriff Geoff Dean and Bill Ayub, “we supported the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department primarily with evidence response assets, including assets from the Los Angeles Field Office, surrounding FBI field offices, and the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.”

The FBI response teams remained on the scene for eight days.

“The FBI lab shooting reconstruction team was on the scene as well to do survey trajectory work to create a shooting reconstruction report which will take some time, but will ultimately be provided to the Sheriff,” he stated.

They also had a team of victim specialists on scene working with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

Part of the recovery included digital media and a folding knife. That evidence is also being analyzed back in Quantico.

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub described the extent of the investigation.

During the first eight days after the shooting, a team of 80-90 FBI agents, plus evidence technicians, and victim advocates were working on the scene.

“Many were flown from other parts of the country,” he stated, “and some were evacuated from their motel due to the ensuing fires that occurred within 24 hours of the shooting.”

Ayub provided some details of the night of the shooting.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at approximately 11:18 p.m., Ian David Long from Newbury Park entered Borderline Bar & Grill and immediately began firing his weapon, a Glock .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol legally purchased in August 2016 at a gun shop in Simi Valley. Long also had a folding knife.

No other firearms were found in his vehicle or at his house.

The suspect fired more than 50 rounds. He had brought with him seven high capacity 30-round magazines. When the shooting was over, five were found still fully loaded. These bullets are Illegal to purchase in California but might have been obtained in other neighboring states.

Long also carried a flashlight with a laser sight attached to his handgun. When he entered the bar, he threw multiple smoke grenades, which Ayub noted “contributed significantly to the chaos and confusion inside.”

As for the Glock, even though it was legally purchased, Long did not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

When Long began firing, he struck 13 people with gunfire, then used his weapon to take his own life. Of those 13 victims, only one survived.

After firing at patrons in the bar, Long “positioned himself for a law enforcement response.”

When Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer entered the bar and began searching with their rifles, “the suspect ambushed the officers almost immediately from a position of tactical advantage.”

Both officers fired back but did not strike the suspect.

“After the exchange of gunfire,” Ayub added, “there were no additional shots fired by the suspect until he took his own life.”

Helus was struck multiples times by gunfire and was rescued from the bar by fellow law enforcement officers.

The events of the shooting were initially unclear to incoming officers, particularly the question of whether there was more than one shooter on the scene. As a result, deputies prepared for an extended standoff by summoning SWAT team and crisis negotiators.

“During the minutes after the first 911 calls, responding deputies and officers from surrounding agencies received conflicting information that there were multiple suspects and possibly multiple shooting locations,” Ayub explained.

Several Borderline customers went to another bar on Thousand Oaks Boulevard. According to Ayub, “this resulted in reports of a potential separate shooting at that location.” It was later confirmed that no additional shooting had happened.

Deputies were receiving information not only from their communications center, but from victims and witnesses who had escaped the bar.

“Many of the details the officers were receiving were confusing and conflicting,” Ayub continued. For instance, there were two different suspect descriptions provided by witnesses.

“It’s not that the witnesses were wrong,” said Ayub. “Each person had a different perspective of what they saw and heard.”

The chaos was multiplied because dozens of customers were trying to escape. Some broke windows and crawled out. Others hid in the attic and other locations in the bar and were only found after law enforcement initiated a secondary search.

For the Ventura County Coroner’s Office, Dr. Christopher Young was responsible for the medical examiner portion of the investigation, transporting the bodies to the medical examiner’s office at Ventura County Hospital, providing positive identification of the victims, notifying the families, and performing the autopsies.

In spite of the threats caused by the Woolsey Fire, Young stated that his office was able to “accurately identify all 12 victims, perform the autopsy, and collect evidence in just over 24 hours after they arrived at our office.”

The list of victims was released on Friday, November 9. Victims began to be released to funeral homes by Saturday, November 10.

As to the cause of death, Young confirmed all the victims died as a result of wounds inflicted from Long’s handgun.

Young indicated that questions re: the timeliness of the arrival of law enforcement would not have mattered.

“All of the victims died rapidly as a result of one or more gunshot wounds,” he noted. “The victims sustained injuries to vital areas. Many of the gunshot wounds were from close proximity and there was no chance of survival.”

Young also confirmed that none of the victims were struck by gunfire from law enforcement.

“The type of rifles that were carried by the officers fire bullets which leave distinct types of wounds and have distinct appearances on x-rays,” said Young, “and all of the evidence that I have so far indicates that these injuries were caused by a handgun like the one carried by the suspect.”

One victim did sustain a stab wound to the neck in addition to multiple gunshot wounds.

Young also confirmed that Long died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head: “He had no other significant injuries, and specifically no gunshot wounds or sharp force injuries.”

Ayub described the extent of the ongoing investigation, including more than 400 interviews, officers’ reports, body camera footage, surveillance footage, and physical evidence, all of which “will have to be analyzed in order to produce a detailed timeline.”

In addition to the shootings of customers in the bar, Ayub pointed out that there is a second ongoing investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and the Ventura County District Attorney as a result of an officer involved shooting that “requires detailed criminal and administrative investigation by the agencies involved.” According to Ayub, this is standard procedure in all officer related shootings.

A full report on the officer involved shooting will eventually come from the Ventura County District Attorney.

As to why Long entered the bar and began shooting, that question remains unresolved. Delacourt confirmed that he does not believe terrorism was involved. Ayub dispelled several other rumors.

There was no indication he was targeting a girlfriend inside. In addition, Long had previously gone to the Borderline as a customer, but he was not an employee and did not have a dispute with the owner. In fact, the owner did not know Long.

In terms of a criminal background, Long had a clean record.

“The suspect had only a few contacts with law enforcement and he had never been arrested for any crimes either locally, elsewhere in California, or outside the state,” said Ayub.

His other contacts with law enforcement included a traffic accident, a traffic citation, and an incident at another bar in which Long was the victim of a battery.

Deputies did respond to a call by neighbors back in April 2018. There were reports of loud noises at Long’s home in Newbury Park. Neighbors believed that he was “suffering from some type of mental breakdown.”

Long was evaluated at his house by deputies and a mental health crisis team. The deputies and the mental health crisis team determined he did not meet the criteria for a mental health detainer.

“He did not express a desire to harm himself or anyone else,” said Ayub. “He was upset over a financial issue between him and his mother.”

Long had punched holes in the walls of his house, but never displayed or threatened anyone with a gun, never mentioned a gun, and there was no evidence that he used a gun during the incident. Therefore, a gun violence restraining order was not sought by anyone at the scene.

Ayub asserted that “this was the last and only call for service we handled at the suspect’s residence.”

Additional facts that Ayub stressed included:

  • Helus was wearing body armor at the time of his shooting.
  • Eight off duty officers were inside the bar at the time of the shooting, two from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and six from other local law enforcement agencies. No rounds were fired from off duty officers. They did help other people escape from the scene and, according to Ayub, “assisted deputies on the scene by providing valuable information about what had occurred inside.”

The complex and detailed investigation of the shooting at Borderline has been a team effort between federal, state and local law enforcement. As FBI Agent Delacourt concluded:

“Incidents like this test not only the community at large, but also the law enforcement community, and I think and I hope that you will find in this incident and other incidents, there’s no light between us, no light between the federal, state, and local law enforcement responders when it comes to a crisis incident like this.”

A banner hangs outside the East County Sheriff’s Department in memory of Deputy Sheriff Ron Helus, one of the 12 shooting victims at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

 

Editor’s note: Mr. Pompey told us that the press conference raised almost as many questions as it answered. They did not take any questions, which made it much more difficult to delve into the matter and raised the question of why should there even be a press conference when this could have been dealt with via a press release.  There are some possible inconsistencies/omissions in the narrative regarding the law enforcement personnel on the scene at the time of the incident occurring. But, consider that it is an ongoing investigation.

Photo Credits: Tim Pompey


Tim Pompey, a freelance writer who has done lots of local affairs and entertainment/cultural writing, lives in Oxnard. Tim is also a fiction writer (Facebook Page). You can learn about his books on Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/booksbytimpompey.

Mr. Pompey’s Newest Book:  Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm

Mrs. Parsley loves to tell stories to children. In her little house in Okafor, Florida, she writes them herself. Then, in a twist from her own past, Mrs. Parsley and her young friend Terence go on an adventure to rescue children held captive at the Mossel’s farm deep in the Big Cypress Swamp. Down the Blue Pole Road, across the Midnight Ferry, past the Milky White Magnolia Trail, and through the Crossing of the Gnome, magic, danger, and a wee bit of fun await them as they carry out their mission. Who will travel with Mrs. Parsley as she reclaims her past and discovers a new future—for Terence, for the captured children, for herself?

Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm On Amazon


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3 Responses to VC Sheriff’s Office Provides Updates on Borderline Bar Shooting

  1. Timothy Bond January 19, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Thank you Citizens Journal. You clarified the Oxnard Police Chief’s words as a misspeak and helped defend the truth. People make mistakes all the time when speaking, because as humans we are imperfect beings.

    Most people who have familiarity with legally carrying concealed firearms in the state or this county know that even off-duty LEOs typically will not carry in places serving alcohol exclusively. Many do not carry at all while off duty. It is a personal choice entirely, and while citizens with CCW licenses are prohibited by law to carry in such cases, off duty LEOs are discouraged in doing so by their agencies.

    As far as a ‘duty-to-act’ while off duty, it’s quite a dubious claim at best. Saying an off duty LEO has a duty to ‘uphold’ the law outside of his own personal actions and to the risk of their own personal safety… pretty sure that’s just not true. It would be like saying that firefighters must hold their breath to enter burning buildings while off duty, whether or not they have the personal protective gear they need to do so safely. I am pretty sure LEOs don’t wear their ballistic vests off duty either…

    By definition Active Shooters have taken the initiative and they begin such incidents with huge advantages of surprise and force. Until those advantages are overcome by opposing force or the shooter gives up those advantages voluntarily (surrender, suicide, etc) they can continue to do violence on innocent people.

    As we have sadly seen in the candid reporting from Sheriff Ayub, even armed trained officers can make tragic mistakes. We should ALL pray for SGT. Helus’ widow and family, as well as for that officer who must feel so horribly guilty. But the true blames rests with the shooter who caused it all.

    We cannot ease anyone’s pain by trying to pin blame on anyone else but him. In doing so we only perpetuate the hurt and create obstacles to healing. I am ALL for learning from mistakes, but that cannot begin by pointing fingers and calling people cowards.

    Reply
  2. Citizen Reporter December 7, 2018 at 11:12 am

    It is both premature and unwarranted to label any officer involved in any way with this as a coward.

    Have you seen the videos, read the interview transcripts, seen officer camera footage? If not, you are in NO position to rule on the bravery of the LE officers there.

    Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney told me that off duty officers are encouraged NOT to carry when they might be drinking enough to affect their judgment.

    Reply
  3. Bruce Boyer, candidate for Ventura County Sheriff November 29, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    According to Oxnard CofP Whitney as he is on record at the Oxnard City Council meeting stating ( Nov 13th video starting at 29:50) that there were two on-duty Oxnard PD officers inside the Borderline when the shooting started; He states it twice. Chief Whitney stated that the officers ‘heroically helped people to escape”… They ran. Now we are told by Mustache Bill Ayub ( who is NOT the Sheriff of Ventura County; he is appointed to act until a new elected sheriff is sworn in. Bill Ayub is not the ‘sheriff elect’ as the ‘election’ is under review by the CA Appellate court as the County Clerk refused to place Bruce Boyer, the other fully filed candidate on the ballot) who tells us that eight cops were in the Borderline. He does not tell us that they were armed, as they of course would been as off-duty cops always carry their badge and gun, always. So what did these cops do? Same as the other two. They ran. This is pure cowardice. The kids killed in the Borderline were either the ones that could not run faster than the cops or as I understand, three were shot attempting to take out the shooter, bare handed.
    Coward cops ran, kids died. Sgt Helus was killed because the other ten cops deserted.

    The Borderline has a full video system. The video will show who was doing what. There is video of the exit doors. Show the video!

    Note that the ‘heroic’ officers have not been identified.

    The ‘leadership” of Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept are the ones that perpetuate the cowardice. They refused to tell us and the families of the victims that there were TEN cops in the Borderline. who ran and left the people to be executed. They waited three weeks to tell us what they knew three weeks ago. They refuse to hold the officers accountable for their cowardice. Ventura Couny Sheriff’s Dept , Oxnard PD and the other agencies are all covering up the cowardice , that makes them cowards as well. Every cop now knows that if you want to be a hero like Sgt. Helus, you can wind up dead because the coward cops will run and face no consequences.
    We must hold them accountable. We need real leadership in the Sheriff’s Dept. Fortunately we can make a change. We will have an election for County Sheriff, soon, and as Sheriff I will not tolerate any cowardice, count on it.

    Reply

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