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  • Writer's pictureThe Big Magazine Staff

Healing Garden Memorial to honor Thousand Oaks Borderline mass shooting victims -one year ago today

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

By: Rebecca Brando, November 7, 2019

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the horrific Borderline shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. The city has erected a memorial garden named, The Healing Garden, located at the Conejo Creek North Park to honor of the 12 deceased victims and 248 survivors.

Oak tree saplings and granite pieces were offered to visitors to take home and build their own garden

The memorial features 12 boulders and 12 vertical water jet fountains, all symbolic in memory of the victims who tragically lost their lives in 2018. The memorial’s stone slab benches circle around a small pond. The very stones the memorial is built on have individual notes painted underneath each brick from survivors and family members of victims to commemorate the immeasurable loss endured.

A private ceremony was held this morning for the families of the dead along with the 248 survivors involved in the shooting before opening the memorial to public at 2pm.

The mass shooting took place on the evening of Nov. 7, 2018, when a 28-year-old, Newbury Park man opened fire on "college night" at the Borderline Bar and Grill. The bar is a popular spot for college students from surrounding schools; Moorpark College, California Lutheran University and Channel Islands University.

Authorities said the gunman fired 50 rounds, killing 12 people, including, Ventura County Sheriff - Sgt. Ron Helus. The shooter then fatally shot himself. The motive behind the shooting still has not surfaced.

Sgt. Helus was killed by a sixth gunshot in the line of fire by an accompanying California Highway Patrol officer who accidentally shot Helus during the shoot out. On Wednesday, November 7, 2019, a 3 mile 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” in honor of the fallen officer.

The Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks remains closed and now serves as its own memorial where families leave photos and flowers to remember those that lost their lives that fatal night. Donations totaling $3.6 million have been distributed to the survivors and families of victims who died during the massacre.

Here are the names of the 12 victims we remember today:

Cody Coffman: Coffman (22) Coffman was preparing to speak with Army recruiters to fulfill his dream of serving his country. Cody has three brothers between ages 6 and 9 and a new sister that was born this year.

Alaina Housley: Housley (18) was a student at Pepperdine University with plans to study law, her family said. Alaina was bright, popular, and well-loved, a student who had a 4.5 grade-point average and played soccer, tennis, piano and violin studies.

Sgt. Ron Helus: Helus (54) a sergeant of the Ventura County Sheriff department was talking to his wife when he received the call regarding shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Helus is credited for being a hero, as he was the first officer to respond and confront the gunman.

Justin Meek: Meek (23) Newly graduated from California Lutheran University, performed as a singer and worked at the Borderline. He also worked for Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver, supporting families with children with special needs. Meek toured professionally as a cappella singer.

Sean Adler: Adler (48) was a Borderline security guard. The married father of two boys died while protecting people.

Daniel Manrique: Manrique (33) dedicated his life to service. He was a hospital volunteer, U.S. Marine and manager of an organization that helps veterans adjust after leaving the military. He was a radio operator with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. After the military, Manrique began volunteering with Team Red White and Blue, an organization that works to help veterans avoid isolation by connecting them to their community.

Noel Sparks: Sparks (21) Moorpark College student frequented the Borderline Bar and Grill with friends.

Telemachus Orfanos: Orfanos, (27) lived through the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year only to die inside Borderline shooting.

Kristina Kaylee Morisette: Morisette (20) worked at the front desk of Borderline. She enjoyed hiking and drawing and was considering applying for an animal training program in Austin.

Blake Dingman: Dingman (21) always had a smile on his face according to family and was excited about working in the electrical field. Blake was also a mechanic who enjoyed working on cars and dirt bikes.

Jake Dunham: Dunham (21) was an avid off-road desert driver. Dunham was at the bar with longtime friend Blake Dingman who also lost his life the same night at Borderline Bar and Grill. Both men were walking out of the bar minutes before being fatally wounded.

Marky Meza Jr: Meza Jr. (20) grew up in Santa Barbara and worked in the service industry since he was a teen. Meza lost his life less than two weeks from his 21st birthday while working as a busboy and food runner at Borderline Bar and Grill.

Out of respect to the families and survivors of this tragedy - we choose not to print the gunman’s name.



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