Authorities have identified David Ian Long of Thousand Oaks, California, as the shooter who entered the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night and began firing into the crowd, killing 12, including a Ventura County sheriff’s sergeant and Pepperdine freshman Alaina Housley, before reportedly taking his own life.
According to Pepperdine’s emergency information webpage regarding the incident, 16 of their students were at the bar and grill’s college night event. Two students were treated then released from a hospital. At press time, not all victims of the incident had been identified.
Harding alumna Emily Hemphill’s younger brother, a Pepperdine freshman, was at Borderline Bar and Grill college night at the time of the incident. Hemphill said it is hard to comprehend the magnitude of such a tragedy, especially when it hits so close to home.
“There really are no words. On the one hand, I’m beyond thankful my brother was able to escape with his life, but my mind keeps going back to the worst of what could have been,” Hemphill said. “An older sister would do anything to protect her baby brother from harm. It’s devastating being on the other side of the country when all I want is to hold and comfort him.”
Harding University President Bruce McLarty opened chapel on Thursday, Nov. 8 with prayer for the Pepperdine community.
“Father, we pray in a special way today for our friends at Pepperdine University. We pray for their students,” McLarty said. “We pray for all the people that work there. I’m praying for my friend President Andy Benton as they maneuver their way through a very very difficult day. Father, we pray for the students. We pray for their safety. Father, we pray for healing in this world in midst of all the brokenness.”
Hemphill said while her brother and friends were able to escape the scene and contact loved ones to share of their safety, the incident will have a resounding impact on their lives.
“When I spoke to my brother around noon the following day [Thursday], he told me he was feeling worse than he had been feeling the night of the event,” Hemphill said. “The adrenaline had faded, and he was left with the memories of the night before replaying in his head. He kept using the word ‘gross’ to describe his feelings. No 18 year old should have to experience such a tragedy, yet this is something he will carry with him the rest of his life.”
Pepperdine officials have organized a number of resources for their students, including counseling and prayer vigils throughout their campus.
“Our hearts are broken with the news of this profound loss,” the university said in a statement on their website. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Housley family and ask that our community join us in keeping Alaina’s family, friends, and loved ones in their prayers during this incredibly difficult time.”