What we know about victims, more

In 311 days, the U.S. has experienced 307 mass shootings.

The latest happened at a country-western themed bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where a gunman opened fire Wednesday night on patrons, killing 12 including a sheriff’s sergeant who was among the first to respond.

On Friday, authorities are still trying to piece together what happened.

“I think it’s impossible to put any logic or any sense to the senseless,” said Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean during a news conference. 

Here’s what we know Friday about the mass shooting.

The victims: ‘My life has changed now forever’

Telemachus Orfanos had survived last year’s shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas claiming 58 lives. On Thursday, he was confirmed as one of the 12 victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

His father, Marc Orfanos, said he visited Borderline to have dinner with friends. “It’s particularly ironic that after surviving the worst mass shooting in modern history, he went on to be killed in his hometown,” he said.

Jason Coffman was among the parents and friends who rushed to the scene hoping their loved ones inside the bar were still alive. His son, Cody, did not survive. “I am speechless and heartbroken. … My life has changed now forever.”

Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus was expected to retire as soon as next year. After talking with his wife on the phone, he joined a California Highway Patrol officer as the first to respond to Wednesday night’s shooting. Helus was shot multiple times and later died at the hospital. “He died a hero,” Dean said.

More: ‘He died a hero’: Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus killed in Thousand Oaks shooting

Among the other victims identified in the shooting: Daniel Manrique, 33, a Marine Corps veteran; Justin Meek, 23, a recent graduate of California Lutheran University; and Alaina Housley, a freshman at Pepperdine University and niece of “The Real” host and “Sister, Sister” star Tamera Mowry-Housley. Authorities haven’t named all the victims of the shooting.

What happened inside the Borderline

The gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, drove from his mother’s house in Newbury Park, Calif., to the bar, wearing all black and armed with a .45-caliber handgun with extended magazine. After shooting a security guard outside the venue, he tossed a smoke bomb into the bar and began firing. 

People threw barstools out windows to escape the chaos. At around 11:20 p.m., Helus and the highway patrolman arrived at the bar and entered after hearing gunfire. Helus was immediately struck by multiple gunshots, Dean said. The highway patrolman pulled Helus out and waited for more officers and a SWAT team to arrive. The gunman was later found dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

More: People threw barstools through window to escape Thousand Oaks, California, bar during shooting

Expert on gunman: This isn’t about PTSD

Authorities said Long, who was a Marine Corps veteran, had experience past erratic behavior suggesting he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. However, Barbara Olasov Rothbaum, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at Emory University School of Medicine, said this is not PTSD, and worries incidents like the one in Thousand Oaks could contribute to its stigma. “I get upset when people get scared of veterans with PTSD because they think they are going to be violent and they’re not.”

Can we prevent another mass shooting?

As families and friends grieve over the lives lost in Thousand Oaks, some are expressing frustration over whether signs were missed to keep this incident from happening. Authorities said police were summoned to Long’s house in April when he was found “acting a little irrationally.” But identifying who might become a mass shooter before it happens is “impossible,” said Steven Hoge, a forensic psychiatrist and clinical professor at Columbia University. “What mental health professionals bring to the table is the ability to identify risks and triggers to past violent acts and to try to figure out how to mitigate or avoid those incidents in the future.”

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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