Guy who escaped the Thousand Oaks shooting makes 'heartbreaking' apology to the victims
A survivor of the Thousand Oaks shooting has gone viral with a heart-wrenching apology to the victims.
The man, identified only as Tim, broke down as he was interviewed by a local ABC affiliate, after a gunman killed 12 people and injured a dozen more on Wednesday night.
The 56-year-old, who was inside the California bar, about 40 miles (65km) north-west of Los Angeles, gave his account of the mass murder, eventually bursting into tears and saying it shouldn't have happened to the young people in the bar.
"My son thought it was a joke, and so I pulled him down, got some cover," he explained. "I looked up and [the suspect] was moving to the right, and he shot the front … the front doorman, bouncer; just a young man. And then, then he shot the cashier; just a young girl. And then he started moving to the right, he wasn't looking at us. Then he went into the office, where all the cash and stuff is. He didn’t say anything at all, he just started shooting."
He continued: "I should have stayed till he changed his clip, but I was worried about my boy. I should have stayed. I apologize to anybody who got hurt, or passed, I’m sorry."
When his interviewer attempted to assure him that he'd done everything he possibly could have, a sobbing Tim refused to accept his reasoning.
"But they’re all young. I’m 56; I’ve lived life — they’re all young. This shouldn’t have happened to them," he said.
After his interview aired, the footage went viral on social media, gaining thousands of likes and retweets, and hundreds of thousands of views.
Soon enough, comment sections were inundated with people reaching out to the 56-year-old, telling him not to blame himself.
"This hurt my heart so bad. If he reads this I hope he knows that this is not his fault. A parent’s instinct is to protect their children. I hope his story touches others. Love to the victims and families (sic)," wrote Twitter user @BeeHiveBae.
Fellow social media user @MaplesM78 agreed, also claiming that Tim's interview should be shown to every politician who doesn't support gun control.
She said: "This man’s interview should be played on repeat for every single gun supporting politician. This interview illustrates the life ruining guilt survivors of mass shootings face. Even those who survive are forever changed in ways we cannot simply comprehend. They’re victims too (sic)."
At least 200 people were reportedly inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, which was hosting a university student night, at the time of the attack.
The victims haven't been named yet, but it is known that Ventura Country Sergeant, Ron Helus, was one of those who lost their lives, after attempting to enter the active scene with a local highway patrolman.
The father-of-one had been a policeman for 29 years and was a professional firearms instructor. He was due to retire next year.
"It saddens us all and tears at our emotions. He died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Police have named the suspect as 28-year-old Ian David Long, who had suspected mental health issues. It is believed by officials the US Marine Corps veteran and local resident killed himself inside the bar.