THOUSAND OAKS — Running away from his favorite bar, trying to get a gunshot victim to safety, Ben Campbell hadn’t begun trying to make sense of what had happened late Wednesday night inside Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was so surreal. I almost like wanted to see him to kind of like wrap my brain around it because I was like I couldn’t believe it this isn’t happening,” Campbell said. “And I kind of just stood there and looked back at the bar and it was just empty. Smoke grenades were going off.”
Friday, FBI agents and other officers are two days into their own quest for answers. Campbell says he’ll never understand.
“I’m just doing what I can, trying to stay positive,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything close to this.”
To unravel the unthinkable – a massacre inside a crowded bar – investigators are looking to the reliable.
“We’re going through methodically and making sure we capture every bit of evidence, every piece of information that will help us fill in the blanks,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Captain Garo Keradjian said.
Keradjian is just one member of a whole department missing Sgt. Ron Helus, killed by a combat Marine veteran Ian David Long.
Helus was the first officer to confront Long before Long eventually killed himself. Keradjian says that sounds exactly like his friend.
“He’d be the first to rush in to try to solve the problem to try to neutralize that threat, so I know he didn’t have a moment’s hesitation to go in when he heard those shots,” Keradjian said.
The Borderline was a place everyone says they loved to come because of how it welcomed you, made you feel like family even if it was your first time through the doors.
Now they’ll rely on that family to heal.
“Being together as a family, that’s all we can do to cope with what has happened,” Brianna Shelley, who survived the shooting, told FOX40.
Friday evening survivors of the Borderline bar shooting have been able to show up at a roadblock to try to get back their cars that have been locked into this scene for two days. It will be a much longer time before they’re able to regain their sense of security.