Alaina Housley, a 2018 Vintage High graduate, is among the dead after a shooting late Wednesday night at a western bar in Southern California that left at least 13 people dead, including the gunman, relatives reported.
Housley, 18, was confirmed to be among the Thousand Oaks shooting victims after statements from Pepperdine University, where she was a freshman, and a spokeswoman for her celebrity aunt and uncle, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Adam Housley, spoke to Yahoo! News.
“Our hearts are broken,” the couple said in a statement. “Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner.”
Yountville and its Chamber of Commerce were scheduled to hold a candlelight vigil in Housley’s honor in front of the Yountville Community Center at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Vintage High also planned a 7 p.m. vigil on its soccer field.
The shooting occurred at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, a popular Western bar that attracts country music and line dancing lovers from neighboring cities and counties. The venue is widely known for its weekly dance lessons and “College Country Night,” but draws patrons of all ages.
Housley, the daughter of Hannah and Arik Housley of Napa, attended Vintage High, Silverado Middle and Vichy Elementary schools. She moved to Malibu to attend Pepperdine and planned to major in English literature, according to one of her social media posts.
The Housley family has a strong Napa Valley presence. Housley’s mother, Hannah, is Vintage High’s activities director and a history teacher. Her father, Arik, owns Ranch Market in Napa, Ranch Market Too in Yountville and co-owns Il Posto Trattoria in Napa. Both her parents attended Pepperdine.
Housley’s younger brother is a Vintage High freshman.
Current students of Vintage High reached Thursday said Housley was well-known on campus. She treated others well, was quick to help colleagues and cared about her school.
When Vintage High principal Sarah O’Connor thinks of Housley, she remembers the time Housley planned to have all the school’s violinists — herself included — surprised her mother with a ‘happy birthday’ song.
Housley was confident in herself, mature for her age, brought out the best in her peers, and was an exceptional athlete, scholar and student leader, O’Connor said at a Thursday afternoon press conference on campus.
The campus community is shaken and in shock, she said.
“Alaina Housley is exactly the kind of young person that we would want our kids to be,” O’Connor said. “I think that’s what makes this tragedy truly a tragedy.”
Housley’s death was a huge loss for Napa schools, which she attended from kindergarten to high school, said Rosanna Mucetti, superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District.
Students gathered in the library Thursday to meet with counselors who are always on hand for students in the event of a tragedy, Mucetti said. The district will take things one day at a time in determining how long extra support staff is needed on campus, she said.
“We’re a very tight-knit community,” Mucetti said. “We’re going to be feeling this throughout the Napa community.”
Tributes began to pour in Thursday afternoon from apparent strangers on social media.
Arik Housley posted a photo on Facebook Thursday morning, stating that he was heading to Los Angeles to see what was the latest with his daughter. That post garnered thousands of comments, shares and reactions within hours.
A school district spokesperson confirmed that campuses that Housley attended have counseling available to students. Most resources, including Napa police chaplains, will be at Vintage High, where Housley graduated last year.
Students will have space to meet together, with support personnel, on campus, according to the district.
Housley was an exceptional student leader, athlete, musician and scholar, said district spokesperson Elizabeth Emmett.
“Just an outstanding person,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting Thursday morning, saying police showed great bravery in their response. A sheriff’s Deputy, Sgt. Ron Helus, was killed by gunfire inside the club.
“God bless all of the victims and families of the victims,” he wrote. “Thank you to [sic] Law Enforcement.”
Governor-elect Gavin Newsom ordered flags at state buildings be flown at half-staff following last night’s shooting.
Napa Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, also chimed in with a Thursday statement, calling upon the new Congress to pass legislation to prevent gun violence.
“Yet again, a nation stands horrified at a mass shooting,” Thompson said in a press release. “People trying to enjoy a night of music and friendship were gunned down and a Sheriff’s Sergeant lost his life trying to keep his community safe.”
Collabria Care in Napa invited the community to participate in its grief support program Thursday afternoon at 414 S. Jefferson St., Napa.The gunman, Ian David Long, a 28-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is thought to have killed himself, reportedly shot a security guard outside, then made his way inside. Officers arrived on the scene 2 to 3 minutes after the first call to law enforcement, according to CNN.