Terrifying bodycam video, 911 calls launched in 2018 California bar bloodbath: “We’re hiding”

Video from cameras worn by deputies who responded to a mass capturing at a Southern California bar in 2018 and recordings of requires assist launched Tuesday captured the chaos, horror and confusion of the bloodbath that left 12 folks, together with a sheriff’s sergeant, useless.

Terrified patrons hiding from a gunman nonetheless stalking victims reported the capturing in whispers to dispatchers, whereas others sobbed over the trauma of an occasion nonetheless unfolding. Officers encountered patrons operating for his or her lives and a person bleeding within the car parking zone whereas pals tried to save lots of him.

Borderline CAM 9 depicts Sergeant Helus on the open door to the bar and one CHP Officer developing the steps. 

Ventura County Sheriff’s Workplace

The footage and audio from the Borderline Bar and Grill capturing was launched Tuesday by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Workplace after a courtroom battle by The Related Press and different information shops who sought the proof underneath public data legal guidelines.

Whereas the proof was documented in a greater than 400-page report on the capturing launched in July, it was the primary time the video and name recordings had been launched.

Investigators concluded that Ian David Lengthy, 28, who served as a Marine in Afghanistan, felt school college students disdained veterans and focused the Thousand Oaks nation bar as a result of it was scholar night time. Lengthy took his personal life as police surrounded the constructing on Nov. 7, 2018.

As strains rang off the hook at a sheriff’s name dispatch middle, a lady reporting the capturing whispered: “We’re hiding. The man’s most likely nonetheless right here.”

When a dispatcher requested one other lady if she noticed the capturing, she responded: “It is nonetheless occurring!”

Patrons had been nonetheless operating for canopy when the primary officers arrived.

Movies from the attitude of a dozen officers present how they had been largely in the dead of night about what occurred after one in every of their very own, Sgt. Ronald Helus, went into the constructing after radioing: “We bought a number of folks down. We want lots of ambulances.”

Surveillance footage confirmed Helus and CHP Officer Todd Barrett slowly getting into the bar with weapons raised and Helus with a flashlight on the barrel of his rifle scanning the darkness. Lengthy, who had been hiding within the workplace by the doorway, ambushed the lads from and commenced firing from his .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

Barrett ran outdoors and commenced returning hearth. Helus stumbled as he retreated. When he stood up, he was struck by a bullet fired Barrett fired at Lengthy.

Helus managed to roll onto his again and hearth a number of rounds as Lengthy shot him 5 occasions whereas he was down. The health worker, nevertheless, concluded it was Barrett’s inadvertent shot that killed the veteran officer.

“Take me to the hospital”   

A few of the physique cameras captured the sporadic bursts of gunfire that erupted within the entrance of the bar.

Different cameras had been both not turned on on the time of the capturing or had been on officers who arrived later.

Within the silence that adopted the shootout, Sgt. Laura Natoli, standing behind bushes close to the bar, famous the smoke she may see contained in the bar and mentioned to a deputy: “I’m wondering if he took himself out.”

Shortly after, a person in a plaid shirt and ball cap who had been in  the bar emerged from the darkness behind a dumpster and startled Natoli.

“Jesus, what are you doing dude?” she mentioned.

The person mentioned he was within the Military and needed to assist. He mentioned at the least one, presumably two, officers had been down.

“I watched him,” he mentioned. “By the entrance door.”

Deputy Charles Gallagher, who was with Natoli, cursed.

“We now have no different communication from folks inside, that is what I am fearful about,” Natoli mentioned.

In the meantime, behind a patrol automobile the place Deputy Matthew Kahn had taken cowl with one other officer, a capturing sufferer was on the bottom and sounded as if he was drifting into unconsciousness as his fellow bargoers utilized strain to cease the bleeding.

“Take me to the hospital,” the person mentioned.

A lady reassured him: “They’re on their means.”

One other officer who arrived advised them they wanted to hold him to a staging space the place ambulances had been arriving. “He is not going to make it sitting right here,” the officer mentioned.

The person was carried to security. He was the one gunshot sufferer who survived, Cmdr. Jeff Miller mentioned.

In some unspecified time in the future, Kahn, who had spoken to Barrett, could possibly be heard saying Helus had been shot. However his name was not retransmitted, in accordance with the report.

Miller mentioned phrase of Helus’ capturing wasn’t extensively relayed.

“There was a lack of expertise of Sgt. Helus being shot and down for a fairly substantial time,” Miller mentioned when requested in regards to the footage and radio calls.

Many of the newly launched footage ends after Natoli sends Deputy Steve Manley and one other officer with assault rifles to the entrance of the bar to see if they’ll see any signal of Helus.

Manley’s digicam captures the barrel of his rifle as he strikes alongside within the shadows and geese behind a low wall and bushes in entrance of the bar.

Along with his gun educated towards the doorway space, he reported that there was no motion. Then a pop could possibly be heard contained in the constructing.

“I simply had one shot,” he mentioned on his radio — a transmission heard on the opposite movies.

The shot was Lengthy taking his personal life, Miller mentioned.

The movies ended there.

“No coordinated communication”  

In keeping with an 87-page report commissioned by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Workplace,  the gun battle between the suspect and the responding officers lasted 22 seconds. The report mentioned that perimeter officers didn’t place themselves appropriately and “there was no coordinated communication” between the officers.

“Physique-worn digicam and radio transmissions assist that not one of the perimeter deputies moved to place themselves in a way that might assist the officers concerned within the gun battle,” the report mentioned. “Additional, there was no coordinated communication or response developed or communicated within the minutes after the photographs had been fired.”

The report, issued in March 2021, made a complete of 30 suggestions, with many centered on enhancing communication and dispatch procedures.

“Whereas the main focus of this critique was on figuring out areas for enchancment, there have been many sides of the response which had been achieved effectively and included acts of bravery and heroism, which shouldn’t be ignored,” the report concluded.

Shooting Bar Reopens
On this Nov. 8, 2018, file photograph, grieving individuals are led into the Thousand Oaks Teen Middle the place households gathered after a lethal capturing on the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. 

Richard Vogel / AP

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