Gunman opened fire on crowded Thousand Oaks bar, killing 12, before apparently turning gun on himself.
Alicia Wagner says she moved her family six years ago from the affluent Los Angeles-area enclave of Pacific Palisades to the sleepier and more distant Thousand Oaks, in the Santa Monica Mountains, away from urban hustle and bustle.
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“We wanted a quieter, more peaceful lifestyle,” said 46-year-old Wagner, a photo archivist who shares a spacious, two-storey home with her husband, Steve Vincent, a Walt Disney Company executive, their five children and two large dogs in the Westlake Village community.
Thousand Oaks, known to locals as “TO” and named for the abundance of trees that dot the sprawling city of 127,000 people in the foothills of the Conejo Valley, has long been touted as one of the lowest-crime municipalities of its size in America.
It was named the third-safest city in the United States this year by Niche, a real estate research firm that ranks communities by school quality, income, crime and other factors.
Praying comfort and healing to those affected by this senseless shooting. Thank you to the first responders who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us every day.Thousand Oaks is my home; I will do everything in my power to help those in need of support.
That reputation was shattered late Wednesday night when a gunman identified by authorities as a Marine combat veteran opened fire in a crowded nightclub, the Borderline Bar and Grill, killing 12 people. He was later found dead inside, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“This is not a place anyone would ever expect anything like this to ever happen,” Wagner told Reuters.
That was echoed by Ari Alexenburg, 39, who was waiting for word on the fate of his friend and fellow security guard, who he said was believed to have been working at the Borderline at the time of the shooting.
“Youre in the safest neighbourhood in America,” Alexenburg said. “Nothing, I mean nothing, ever happens in TO.”
“Waking up to news of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, I am heartbroken, once again, for those who have lost their loved ones,” Brown said. “Havent we learned that nowhere in our country will be immune to gun violence until action is taken? Congress, please act now.”
Located about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks occupies about 55 square miles (142 square kilometres) of rolling hills on the opposite side of the Santa Monica Mountains from Malibu, including more than 15,000 acres (6070.28 hectares) of publicly owned parks and open space.
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered flags across Oregon to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims killed in a shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The largely residential area consists of quaint, bedroom communities, golf courses, winding, tree-lined roads and upscale shopping strips. For motorists who travel Highway 101 between Los Angeles and points north, Thousand Oaks is a pass-through community of little note.
But the mountain and foothill landscapes surrounding the Conejo Valley offer plenty of space for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as scenic vistas that have served as backdrops for various Hollywood movies over the years.
The victims include 11 people who were inside the bar and Sgt. Ron Helus who was the first law enforcement officer to respond to the incident.
Originally inhabited by the Chumash Native Americans who dwelled in the Conejo Valley, the area was first settled by the Spanish in the early 1800s, with pioneers migrating into the area throughout the 19th century.
The first post office in the area was built in 1875, and a small outpost there became a stop on the stagecoach route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the city of Thousand Oakss website.
Chicken ranches, dairy farms and apricot orchards that dotted the valley into the early 20th century gave way to greater development after the city was incorporated in the 1960s.
Wednesday nights bloodshed marked a tragic new chapter in the citys history that has upended any notion that its residents are somehow immune from senseless violence, City Councilman Rob McCoy said at a news conference.
“It can happen anywhere,” he said. “This was just an awful event. The citizens of our community are devastated. Were heartbroken.”
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Such sad news – Telemachus Orfanos, who survived the Route 91 shooting was among those killed in the #ThousandOaksShooting. @KTNV pic.twitter.com/C2ShUXIFfw
Susan Orfanos told ABC 7 in Los Angeles that her son Telemachus Orfanos survived the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.
"My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home," Susan Orfanos told ABC 7. "He didn't come home last night, and I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns."
“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” – mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK
Twelve people were killed in the Wednesday night shooting during the college night event at the Borderline Bar and Grill. The gunman also shot and killed himself.
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Borderline was a popular place for Route 91 survivors in the area and multiple survivors were at the bar Wednesday night.