'Just another shooting in America:' Survivors describe mass shooting at California bar
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (FOX11/KTVU) - The Borderline Bar and Grill boasts it has largest country dance hall and live music venue in Ventura County, which is north of Los Angeles.
And Wednesday night was supposed to be a lot of fun. The bar was hosting its regular "College Country Nights," a big draw for students who attend nearby California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, Pepperdine University in Malibu and Moorpark College in Moorpark.
There's a pool table, rooms for drinking and eating, and on this night, country two-step lessons lit up the room.
But just about 11:20 p.m., the fun turned into horror. Inside, 13 people were killed, including a sheriff's deputy who rushed in when he heard gunfire, and the gunman who was also found dead on the floor.
"He died a hero:" Sheriff's sergeant dies in California bar mass shooting
Survivors ran outside, or hid in the bathrooms or under bar stools. Some had survived the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, where a gunman killed 59 people at the country Harvest festival.
"I heard pop, pop, pop," said Richard Ador Dionisio. "I already learned from Vegas. Get out of there as fast as you can."
Madison Cummings also knew that she had to flee as soon as she heard the gunfire. "This is my chance to leave," she said. "So, I bolted out. I don't understand how this has become such a normality. It's 'just another shooting in America.' This is not what our country should be about."
The Ventura County Sheriff identified the gunman at a Thursday news conference as 28-year-old Ian David Long of Newbury Park, Calif.. The sheriff said Long walked into the bar wearing all black and a hoodie. He was a veteran of the US Marine Corps suffering from PTSD and was carrying a .45-caliber Glock handgun, purchased legally, Sheriff Geoff Dean said. He killed a security guard first.
And he noted that because shootings are so common these days, many of the college students probably were able to save themselves by knowing what to do in an active shooter situation.
"He went for the security guard first," shooting survivor Teylor Willard said, speaking outside the bar as friends huddled and hugged each other. "I saw two more people drop." People started sprinting toward the door. "I froze for a second and I ran off the dance floor. We all dogpiled on top of each other."
Erika Sigmond said when she heard the gunshots, she and a friend ducked down and hid under the bar stools. "I heard a bunch of people scream, 'Run!'" I booked it as fast as I could to my car."
Cole Knapp is a freshman at Moorpark College and was inside the Borderline Bar & Grill when the shooting began.
He says he tried to get as many people to cover as he could. He says he fled through an exit door to a closed patio where he told people "everybody get over the fence as quickly as you can," and followed them over.
Cal Lutheran student body president Nick Steinwender and his roommate went to the scene to offer rides back to campus and moral support and there were already other students from the university there.
Steinwender says "it just feels like it's an attack on our community."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.