People across the country are still mourning the loss of the 12 people who died in the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday night.
Wednesday night was “Country College Night” at the Borderline Bar & Grill. The bar was packed with about 150 to 200 people, including students from California Lutheran University, Pepperdine University and California State University Channel Islands.
Witnesses claim that smoke bombs were released in the bar before the shooter opened fire inside, although police have not yet been able to confirm that, CBS News reported.
The shooter first shot an unarmed security guard and then more of the bar’s security team and staff members before opening fire on the rest of the bar.
Tragically, 12 people were fatally injured while several others suffered injuries of varying severity.
Among the crowd of people in the bar that night was a group of people who knew the scene all too well — a group of people who were also in the crowd the night of the Las Vegas shooting.
According to Brendan Kelly, the Borderline Bar and Grill had become a safe haven for the 30-45 Ventura County locals who were in the crowd when the Las Vegas shooter opened fire from above on October 1, 2017.
“Borderline was our safe space after, for lack of a better term, it was our our home for the probably 30 or 45 of us who are all from the greater Ventura County area who were in Vegas,” he told ABC.
The group banded together after the shooting to support each other. Kelly said, “That was our place where we went to the following week, three nights in a row just so we could be with each other.”
So when Kelly was hanging out with his friends in the bar on Wednesday evening, he was all too familiar with the sound of gunfire.
Kelly was able to use some of the skills picked up from his Marine Corps training to help protect others and even conduct some on-site first aid to minor wounds.
“As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to get to the nearest exit,” he said.
Kelly also said that one of his friends had a pretty nasty gash on his arm so Kelly tried to make a makeshift tourniquet with his belt and then his shirt.
“I wanted to help as best I could,” Kelly said. “If we could be the first level of first responders before they got there, then you do all you can do instead of standing around not doing much.”
Kelly shared that he hasn’t been able to process how or why he’s been able to survive two different mass shootings in just a little over a year, but he only knows one thing he can attribute it to.
“Only thing I can attribute it to is God,” Kelly said. “His protective hand over me that night, on October 1st, and last night.”
“I easily could’ve been talking to one of my buddies by the front door who had just come in the door and been right by this individual. Easily.”
While the shooter’s motives are still unclear, the suspect’s name and story are not as important as the stories of those who have been affected whether in great loss or in great acts of heroism.
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