By Roy Mabasa and the Associated Press
Filipino-American college student Alaina Punzalan Housley was among the 13who died in the horrific shooting inside a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila), the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles said.
The 18-year-old Housley, a freshman student from Pepperdine University, was among those killed in the shooting rampage of a Marine combat veteran inside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.
The gunman, identified as Ian David Long, 28, opened fire inside the country-western bar with a Glock 21-made .45-caliber handgun, killing at least 12 victims at the scene. Long was later found dead inside the establishment.
Terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran went to a shooting rampage.
Dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, the gunman apparently took his own life as scores of police converged on the Borderline Bar and Grill in Southern California.
The motive for the rampage late Wednesday night was under investigation.
Reports showed that Alaina had gone to the Borderline to line dance with friends. The bar is said to be frequented mostly by young people aged 18 to 22.
As news of the shooting spread, it was also reported that her aunt, “The Real” host and “Sister, Sister” star Tamera Mowry-Housley, frantically scanned social media to search for her niece.
It was only on Thursday morning, however, when the family learned that Alaina didn’t make it out of the bar alive.
“Our hearts are broken,” the family said in a statement.
“Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her, and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner.”
In her time at the Vintage High School, Alaina was an honor student who joined the school’s varsity soccer team and served in student government in the entire four years before graduating in June.
Her high school alma mater officials remembered Alaina as a “natural leader and connector,” who was loved by her fellow students and the school staff.
Alaina also played violins at the Vintage High School where her mom is employed.
Consulate General Adel Angelito Cruz said they are continuously monitoring the developments related to the incident and checking with authorities if there are other members of the 25,879 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in Ventura Country who are among the dead or injured in the incident.
The dead included a veteran sheriff’s deputy who rushed in to confront the gunman, as well as a 22-year-old man who planned to join the Army, a freshman at nearby Pepperdine University and a recent Cal Lutheran graduate.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in the parking lot. “There’s blood everywhere.”
Many of the estimated 150 patrons at the Borderline dived under tables, ran for exits, broke through windows or hid in the attic and bathrooms, authorities and witnesses said.
President Donald Trump praised police for their “great bravery” in the attack and ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.
Authorities searched Long’s home in Newbury Park, about 5 miles from the Borderline bar, for clues to what set him off.
“There’s no indication that he targeted the employees. We haven’t found any correlation,” the sheriff said. “Maybe there was a motive for this particular night, but we have no information leading to that at all.”
Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11 before he was honorably discharged, the military said. Court records show he married in 2009 and was divorced in 2013.