ST. GEORGE — Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered the lowering of flags around the state because of the shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, that left 13 people dead Wednesday.
The shooting occurred when 28-year-old Ian David Long opened fire inside the Borderline Bar with a .45-caliber handgun. He killed 12 people and wounded several others before police believe he killed himself.
It’s the second time in two weeks Herbert has ordered the flag to be placed at half-staff. On Oct. 29, the flags were lowered in Utah and around the country because of a shooting that left 11 dead at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I am devastated that we have had yet another mass shooting in our country,” Herbert said in a statement. “My heart aches for the many families who lost loved ones, and for the many lives cut brutally short by this senseless and cruel act of violence. We stand together with these families and with our California neighbors in mourning.”
Flags in Utah are expected to remain lowered until sunset on Saturday evening.
Similar to the deadly mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas last year, country music fans were the victims of the shooting in Thousand Oaks. Borderline Bar features country music, and Wednesday was “college night” that drew many young people to the bar.
Brendan Kelly, a 22-year-old Marine who survived both shootings, said he threw two of his friends to the floor and covered them with his body Wednesday. Then he got a look at the shooter and the terror unfolding and decided they needed to escape.
Kelly said he dragged one woman out a back emergency exit and then, using his belt and T-shirt, he applied a tourniquet to his friend’s bleeding arm. After the shooting was over, Kelly said he and another Marine friend helped victims alongside first responders. Two of his friends were among those killed.
He said living through the Las Vegas shooting changed his life. He doesn’t know how a second mass shooting will affect him down the road.
“Everywhere I go, everything I do is affected,” he said. “I don’t sit in a room with my back to the door. You’re always picking up on social cues. You’re always overanalyzing people, trying to figure out if something were to go down, ‘What would I do?'”
Kelly said Borderline Bar had become a safe haven for dozens of Las Vegas survivors, saying “It is our home.”
Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos, one of the people who died in Wednesday’s mass shooting, was a Navy veteran who survived the Las Vegas mass shooting. His mother said she wanted Congress “to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”
“Here are my words: I want gun control,” said Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, her voice shaking with grief and rage. “I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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