Man Who Saved Dozens From 2018 Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting Dies in Motorcycle Crash: 'He Was So Loved'
Matthew Wennestrom, 24, died on Feb. 26. His grandmother, Renee Matthews said, ”He was so loved by so many people and he helped so many people.”
Matthew Wennerstrom, a California man who was hailed a hero for saving more than 30 people during a 2018 mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, died in a motorcycle accident last weekend, authorities said.
Wennerstrom was thrown from his motorcycle after colliding with an SUV on Saturday in the Newbury Park area of Thousands Oaks, police said in a statement to the Associated Press.
He died at the scene, officials said. The crash is under investigation.
On Monday, family and friends of Wennerstrom gathered for a memorial service to honor the selfless young man, who loved motorcycles, cars and most of all, his family and friends.
Wennerstrom put his own life at risk when he shielded patrons from a gunman, who opened fire at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, a popular local venue that was having a “college country night,” the night of the tragedy.
Twelve people were killed, including a sheriff’s sergeant, Inside Edition previously reported.
"All I did was grab as many people as I could and pull them underneath the table until I heard a break in the shots,” Wennerstrom told KABC-TV in a 2018 interview after the shooting.
His heroism included using a bar stool to break a window so people could escape. "I'm here to protect my friends, my family, and my fellow humans. I know where I'm going if I die, so I was not worried,” he said.
Wennerstrom's actions that night were in line with the person he had always been, his loved ones said.
"It wasn't just Borderline, it was before that -- just in how he lived his life and how he cared for people," his friend Carina Cendejas told KABC-TV.
Wennerstrom's friend and family, who are grieving the loss of a young man who has gone much too soon, said they have taken comfort in his faith and commitment to helping those in need.
"Everybody has come here to honor his memory," Renee Matthews, Wennerstrom's grandmother said, KABC-TV reported. ”He was so loved by so many people and he helped so many people.”
One friend told the news outlet that he was speechless by the show of support for his late friend.
“I’m at a loss for words, honestly,” he said.
A friend of the family has created a GoFundMe. Part of the funds will go towards any upcoming memorial services and the rebuilding of the two Harley motorcycles Wennerstrom owned.
As of Friday, nearly $4,200 had been raised towards their goal of $25,000.
"Matthew was loved by so many, and he touched so many people," said Josue Garcia, the organizer of the GoFundMe. "There are not enough words to describe the impact he made in the community."
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