What was once “unimaginable” has struck again in our country – a mass shooting leaving 13 dead and 30 wounded. A former Marine with a “suspected” history of PTSD entered a bar and grill in Thousands Oaks, California, where college kids from nearby campuses had gathered for a fun night of Country/Western line dancing, and opened fire with an automatic weapon. In the aftermath, thirteen deaths have been confirmed, including a Ventura County Deputy Sheriff, Sgt. Ron Helus. Helus, who was planning to retire next year, was killed when he rushed into the bar in an effort to save lives.
Thousand Oaks is located 40 miles west of Los Angeles. The majority of the patrons at the bar and grill were students from California Lutheran University, California State University Channel Islands, Pepperdine University and Moorpark College. No motive has been established for the shooting and the gunman himself was confirmed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Early Thursday morning, Los Angeles’ Archbishop, Jose H. Gomez, expressed his sorrow and issued the following brief statement:
“Like many of you, I woke this morning to news of the horrible violence last night at the Borderline Grill in Thousand Oaks. Let us pray hard for all the families, for those who were murdered and those who were injured, and in a special way for the heroic officer, Sgt. Ron Helus, who lost his life defending people in the attack. May God grant perpetual light to those who have died, and may he bring comfort to their loved ones and peace to our community.”