Gun violence in the US

California mass shooting: some inside bar had survived Las Vegas massacre, friends say

  • ‘There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice’
PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 5:53am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2018, 7:09am

As friends and family anxiously converged at the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, after a gunman killed 12 people there, it emerged that some of those inside had had an earlier brush with death.

Some patrons of the country music bar had also been at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, last year when a gunman opened fire, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds, friends said.

Chandler Gunn, 23, of Newbury Park said his mother came to his room and told him about the Wednesday night shooting.

He rushed to the Borderline and called a friend who works there, who was also at the Route 91 festival. His friend told him that some type of tear gas was thrown into the bar. She saw smoke and heard gunshots and ran out the back toward nearby flats.

Gunn has not been able to contact her again but knows she’s safe. He said Wednesday nights are college country nights at the bar, and open to people 18 and older for line dancing lessons.

“A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here,” he said. “There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice.”

People stood on the sidewalk making frantic phone calls. One young woman stood with her family on the phone trying to get details. Her family declined to speak.

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Savannah Stafseth was outside on the patio when the shooting started.

“It’s college night, it was insanely crowded,” Stafseth said. She heard people yelling, “Get down, get down!”

The gunfire was “rapid, really loud. Just one after another,” she said.

“There are no words. Those are my people. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair,” she said. “All these people after Route 91. It’s not fair.”

Josh Coaly, 27, stood on the sidewalk waiting to hear from his friend inside.

Coaly has been to the bar several times with his friends. His friend was also in the Las Vegas shooting.

He spoke with his friend, who said he was with his dad and was fine and helping friends.

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“I just came to see if there’s anything I can do,” Coaly said. He asked his friend for the names of people inside so he could start calling the families.

Carl Edgar, 24, a Tarzana resident, said he had about 20 friends inside the bar, where he is a regular, but he wasn’t there Wednesday night.

He said the bar is popular on Wednesday nights with students from Moorpark College. He heard about the incident on Snapchat and immediately texted friends who were there.

“Call me,” his friend replied.

When he did, she said she had escaped the bar and was hiding behind a service station. He told her to stay calm. After midnight, another friend texted him that she was hiding in the back bathroom.

“As far as I know, all of my friends are OK, safe,” he said. “There are a few people we can’t get ahold of, but in these situations people usually turn off their phones to be safe so I’m not going to get too worried. A lot of my friends survived Route 91. If they survived that, they’ll survive this.”