THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — Friends and family awaiting news about their loved ones at a family reunification center in Thousand Oaks were met by survivors of other mass shootings in a show of support following Wednesday night’s tragedy at the Borderline Bar & Grill.
The Thousand Oaks Teen Center, located at 1375 E. Janss Rd., 40 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, opened to the public Thursday afternoon.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Laurie Perez reports friends and family members of those feared dead or injured in the tragedy had been at the center all day awaiting news. It was there that the father of Cody Coffman learned his 22-year-old son was among those killed. He shared memories of his son teaching baseball, fishing and being a loving older brother to his two young siblings, both under 10.
“I talked to him last night before he headed out the door,” his father Jason Coffman told reporters. “First thing I said is, ‘please don’t drink and drive.’ Last thing I said is, ‘I love you.’”
Families like the Coffmans were joined by a rare breed: other victims of mass shootings who showed up at the center to share their pain and offer comfort.
Ben Kadish said he was five years old when he was shot at the Granada Hills Jewish Community Center in 1999. He was one of four children and two adults shot in the tragedy nearly two decades ago and lives near the Borderline Bar & Grill. He felt compelled to comfort victims of Wednesday night’s shooting and show his support but the pain from his wounds so long ago is still fresh.
“It’s just … hard to explain,” he told Perez. “It’s hard to put around your head what happened and how it keeps happening closer and closer to home.”
“Last week was synagogue shooting. I was shot because I’m Jewish. This week it’s 20 minutes from my house,” he continued. ” … It’s hard to fathom, to put into words, what you feel.”
Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of shots fired at Borderline Bar and Grill, located at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive, around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. The bar was hosting its weekly country music night for college students, according to its website.
Ian David Long, a Marine Corps. veteran, was later identified as the shooter who killed a dozen people, including a sheriff’s sergeant. Long then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.
Others who were inside the bar said they had survived the deadly mass shooting at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas last year.
An emergency information hotline has been set up to help locate people involved in the shooting at 805-465-6650.
The FBI and ATF are assisting with the investigation.