When shots rang out at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, Wednesday, it brought back dark memories of another night of chaos for some.
Many who frequent the bar, which was holding its "college country night," had been at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas last year when another gunman opened fire, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more.
“There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice,” Chandler Gunn, 23, told The Los Angeles Times, saying he knew several survivors of last year’s mass shooting were at the bar Wednesday, including a friend who works there.
The friend told Gunn that some type of gas was thrown into the bar, which that night was open to people 18 and over, and offered line dancing lessons.
The suspect, identified by police as 28-year-old Ian Long, shot the security guard outside the bar before entering and opening fire on the crowd at about 11, officials said.
Gunn’s friend was able to run out of the back of the bar, he said.
At least 12 people were killed in the shooting, including Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force.
Helus and a colleague from the California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene within three minutes of the first calls and entered the bar, where he "was struck multiple times with gunfire," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Helus leaves behind a wife and a son. He was hoping to retire in the "next year or so," Dean said.
“There are no words,” Savannah Stafseth, who was outside the bar when the shooting began, told the Times. “Those are my people. It’s just not fair. It’s just not fair. All these people after Route 91. It’s not fair.”
Long was found dead at the scene from what authorities believe to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A motive in the shooting was not immediately clear.
The attack comes less than two weeks after 11 people were killed and six others injured in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.