Ceremonies mark anniversary of Thousand Oaks mass shooting

Ceremonies mark anniversary of Thousand Oaks mass shooting

The Heroes March

Marchers holding signs honoring Alaina Housley and calling for an end to gun violence followed a route on downtown First Street in Napa on their way to Veterans Memorial Park during The Heroes March, which took place Nov. 12 days after the 18-year-old Housley, who graduated from Vintage High School in June, was killed in the Thousand Oaks mass shooting.

THOUSAND OAKS — The 12 people killed in a mass shooting and gun battle at a Southern California country-western bar a year ago have been remembered in a public park memorial called The Healing Garden.

The garden was dedicated Thursday, the anniversary of the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks, starting with a private ceremony for relatives of the dead, then an event for 248 survivors before the public opening at midafternoon.

Late on Nov. 7, 2018, a gunman entered the popular bar and killed 11 people.

Alaina Housley, 18, a recent Vintage High School graduate and Pepperdine University freshman, was killed in the shooting.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus was wounded by the gunman and then was accidentally killed by a California Highway Patrol officer during the ensuing gun battle.

The gunman, 28-year-old Ian David Long, killed himself.

The garden, located in Conejo Creek North Park, surrounds a pond that has a fountain with 12 vertical water jets to honor those killed.

There are also 12 granite slab benches, and a paving stone for each survivor. Oaks screen the garden from the rest of the park.

The Borderline, a longtime institution in the city, has remained closed.

“Not a day goes by that we do not think about our friends and family who we have lost,” said a note posted on its website Thursday. “This past year has been extremely difficult for all of us as a community, but together we have helped each other move forward and continue our healing process one day at a time.”

Following the tragedy, Napa County residents rallied in memory of Alaina and to offer support to her parents, Arik and Hannah Housley.

Hundreds of people massed for candlelight vigils in Napa and Yountville, then lined the roads leading to Tulocay Cemetery as police cars escorted Housley on her final journey to her hometown. The next morning, hundreds more marched from Memorial Stadium to downtown to remember Alaina and call for an end to gun violence, then gathered again the following Sunday in the Vintage gym to celebrate the young woman they had known as a bright student, excellent athlete and talented singer, a sympathetic listener and loyal friend, a woman who seemingly had no limit to what she could accomplish.

Two slogans began appearing during those days of mourning and remembrance: ALAINA’S VOICE and ENOUGH. The former became the name of the Alaina’s Voice Foundation, a nonprofit organized by Alaina’s parents; the latter was its stark and forceful motto.

On Wednesday, a stretch of the U.S. 101 freeway running through Thousand Oaks was dedicated as the “Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ronald Lee Helus Memorial Highway.”

The Napa Valley Register contributed to this story.

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