Police responded to a mass shooting at 11:30pm local time Wednesday night, at a Thousand Oaks bar called Borderline Bar & Grill. At least 12 were reported dead, with more injured, and the suspect was found dead inside the bar by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A “medical emergency” was declared at the bar’s location at the time of the shooting, 99 Rolling Oaks Drive.
The country-western themed bar advertises having the “biggest dance floor in town,” and was reportedly hosting an 18+ “College Country Night” at the time of the shooting. According to the bar’s Instagram account, the event began at 9pm the night of the shooting, with dance lessons at 9:30 and 10:30pm; students were told to “Get here BEFORE the line, we will be packed.”
As the horrific story continues to develop, here’s what you should know about the Borderline Bar & Grill:
1. The Bar Hosts Nightly Themed Events
On the main page of the bar’s website, they say “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” and list their weekly schedule of events. Monday, Friday, and Saturday are reserved for “special events,” and the site recommends calling the bar ahead of time for information. Tuesday is “West Coast Swing” night, Thursday and Saturday are “Country Nights,” Wednesday is “2 Step w/ Bill Elmer” from 6pm-9:30pm, and turns into “College Country Night” at 9pm. Nearby colleges include California Lutheran University, California State University Channel Islands, Pepperdine University and Moorpark College.
The Bar advertises these theme nights heavily on social media, especially to their over 4 thousand followers on Instagram. They also advertise discounted drink prices and cheaper price of entry if you “Say a Promoter’s Name at the Door.” When they posted advertising last night’s event, they included the caption “Tomorrow! Whose ready to get their boots on and dance the night away? We are!”
2. They Teach Line Dancing Online
Borderline Bar & Grill is considered a dance club, and group line dance’s are a staple of the establishment. The bar has a second website, BorderLineDance.com, which offers step-by-step instructional videos so that bar-goers can be prepared with the dance before the night out, or can go home and relearn it the next morning.
A subscription to the resource is $0.99/month, and promises “new instructional videos added every month.” The videos are hosted by Borderline Instructors Kristal Lynn, Caleigha Clairbush, Candy Sherwin, and Lieren King. According to Kristal Lynn’s Instagram, she was teaching line dance the night of the shooting, but is reportedly safe.
The site also includes testimonials from people who have purchased and used the subscription. Samantha G. said “Love, love, love this App! I can’t always make it to a lesson, but I want to show up to clubs knowing the dances.” John S. said “Honestly, I just wanted to impress a few girls and I really am not good at dancing. This app allowed me to learn the dances fast and quickly and gave me the opportunity to show others.”
3. Regulars at the Bar Call it ‘Our Community.”
Because of the group nature of the bar’s line dances, and its dedication to bringing Southern California’s college students together every Wednesday night, there is a sense of community and familiarity amongst people who visit it often. On Borderline’s “About” page, they say “With over 2,500 square feet of wide open dance floor, Borderline has provided a haven for country line dancing folks of all ages equipped with pool tables, games, HDTV’s, and a full bar & dinner menu open till 2am 5 nights a week.”
A survivor of the shooting posted a photo of the “X” marked on his hand upon entry to the bar, indicating that he’s under 21. The caption includes: “This is our community. Our families are here. We are abunch of young adults just wanting to have innocent fun.”
After the 2017 mass shooting in Vegas, Borderline’s Instagram posted their schedule of events, which also included a black and white photo of the Las Vegas skyline, and the line “Our Hearts Are Home.” In the post’s caption, they wrote “We would like to take a moment to say we are so thankful for our country family. We would love to see everyone come together after experiencing this tragedy together.” Chandler Gunn, who was not at the bar but rushed to it once he heard the news, told the Los Angeles Times that there were survivors of the Las Vegas shooting, which happened during the Route 91 country music festival, at Borderline Bar & Grill. “A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here. There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice.”
4. The Borderline Bar & Grill Has Been in Thousand Oaks for 25 Years
Though the Borderline Bar first opened in Malibu in the 1980s, it has been at its current location since 1993. When they moved the bar to Thousand Oaks, they brought with it some of the “staple” pieces from the original spot, including the “Giant Cowboy Hat” and “Disco Ball Saddle,” which “have stood as a tribute to the original Borderline, centered above the dance floor and accompanied by the famous “BORDERLINE – Where your boots meet the beach” banner.”
They have put upon themselves the responsibility to help “Keep the Conejo Country,” bringing top country music and dance to the Conejo Valley, situated within Ventura County and northwestern Los Angeles.
5. It Also Operates As a Live Events Space
According to their website, “Over the years, Borderline has hosted many legendary performances such as The Beach Boys, John Rich, Collin Raye, Mark Chesnutt, Lee Brice, Adam Carolla & Tyler Farr to name a few.” In addition to live concert events such as these, they “help showcase the largest Country Music Festival in the Conejo Valley known as The OakHeart Country Music Festival.”
Other events and concerts hosted by Borderline have included, according to their social media, the Stagecoach Dance Competition, Borderline Comedy Series, and Drake White and the Big Fire. It has also been booked as a wedding space, and was recently the location of a 100th birthday party.