THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) — A year after a mass shooting killed 12 people at what should have been a fun night of college students enjoying country music, the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks remains closed.
The once-popular restaurant and bar has become a memorial and a gathering place for those affected by the shooting that happened a year ago today. The once vibrant bar and grill is instead draped with a banner declaring “Borderline Strong” over a large display of flowers, memorial crosses, and heartfelt messages.
The shooting happened a year ago, but it is never far from the mind of co-owners Troy Hale and Brian Hynes.
“I think about it all the time,” Hynes said.
Hynes said he was not in the bar the night of the shooting, but arrived just minutes after the call went out. The 12 people killed, whose names are memorialized on a plaque the two men keep in their office near the restaurant, included regular customers and members of their staff.
Moving forward since the shooting has been particularly difficult for Hynes and Hale because their restaurant and bar is not just the site of a terrible tragedy, but also a place for families and friends to remember their loved ones.
“You’re going through this roller coaster,” Hynes said. “You know, sadness, fear, what could I have done? But there’s no answers. There’s nothing you could have done.”
Mass shootings have happened at stores, schools and churches across the country, but most have reopened after the conclusion of an investigation. Borderline stands out as one of the small businesses marred by such a shooting, so its future as a restaurant is in doubt.
“Still yet to be determined,” Hynes said. “Still trying to figure it out.”
In a message posted to Borderline’s website, Hynes and Hale say they are planning events to bring together the Borderline community, like the Borderline Strong Party In The Park scheduled for this Saturday. They hope to make it an annual event to honor the Borderline 12.
“Borderline’s meant so much to us for so many years and we know what it means to everybody else,” Hale said.