Thousand Oaks mourns in wake of bar massacre

The mourners gathered to hold hands, to sing and to wonder how one of the safest cities in America could become a killing zone.

Hundreds of people gathered last night to remember the dozen people shot and killed by a Marine veteran at the packed Borderline Bar & Grill the night before.

It was a scene of horror enacted in many places around the country in recent months, but never before in Thousand Oaks.

Terrified patrons who had gathered for the weekly line dancing and college night hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as shots erupted. Twelve people were killed including Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran nearing retirement who responded to reports of shots fired and was gunned down as he entered the bar.

Sheriff Geoff Dean said at the vigil he and other first responders "ran toward danger." "When I told his wife that we had lost her hero, I said to her: 'Because of Ron, many lives were saved." And she looked at me through her tears and she said: 'He would have wanted it that way.'"

The dead also included a man who had survived last year's massacre in Las Vegas 27-year old Telemachus Orfanos.

Dawn Kamber