‘I already learned from Vegas. Get out of there as fast as you can.’ Survivors describe the shock and horror of the Thousand Oaks shooting

Sarah Rose DeSon, center, speaks with her friends after escaping a shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill Wednesday night. ABC News
  • Survivors are speaking out to detail the shooting that left 13 dead at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California late Wednesday night.
  • Many of the survivors were young college students, taking part in a night that’s open to people 18 years and older.
  • They described a quiet gunman, dressed all in black who started shooting as soon as he entered the premises.

The gunman was dressed in black. He stormed the bar and started shooting without saying a word. Patrons went from drinking and country dancing to hiding under bar stools and jumping out of windows to avoid the dozens of bullets.

This is according to the survivors of Wednesday’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California – what was supposed to be one of the safest city’s in America.

Speaking from the scene of what is now the 15th worst mass shooting in American history, survivors spoke about what the gunman looked like, how the bar erupted into chaos when he started firing and how they managed to escape.

A few of the survivors still hadn’t heard from the friends they had gone to “College Night” at the bar with, when the bar lets in people 18 years and older to cater to students at nearby Pepperdine University, Moorpark College and CSU Channel Islands.

Teylor Whittler went to the bar with 11 friends to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday. She said the gunman was oddly quiet and looked like he was no stranger to shooting.

Read more:
What we know about the Thousand Oaks shooter, identified as Ian David Long

“He didn’t say anything. He wore all black. He had a black baseball cap on. Because of his posture and his stance and the way he was holding the gun, it looked like he knew exactly what he was doing and he know how to use it,” she told the “Today” show.

One of Whittler’s friends, Rose DeSon, told “Good Morning America” that she hid underneath a table when she heard the first shots. Then the shooter ignited a smoke bomb.

“As soon as we all saw that, we jumped up,” she said. “I ran out the front door, down some stairs, face-planted in the parking lot but I was lucky enough to get out alive.”

Whittler told ABC News that as they were leaving, multiple men surrounded their group to protect them as they escaped. She said the heroic men were “ready to take a bullet for every single one of us.”

Ador Dionisio Fox 11
Ador Dionisio says he also survived last year’s Las Vegas shooting. Fox 11

Whittler and DeSon say they were separated from two of their friends they went to the bar with, and the two girls have yet to make contact with them or their families.

“I’m terrified,” DeSon said. “We’re just praying for our friends that we haven’t heard from. … You never think it’s going to be you until it happens. That is a problem. This is real and it’s awful.”

Madison Cummings was similarly disappointed that shootings have become so common in America.

“It’s ‘just another shooting in America.’ This is not what our country should be about,” she told Fox 11.

Madison cummings
‘It’s ‘just another shooting in America.” This is not what our country should be about,’ Madison Cummings told Fox 11. Fox 11

‘I already learned from Vegas. Get out of there as fast as you can.’

Many at the country bar said they also survived last year’s Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 country music festival.

“I heard pop, pop, pop,” Richard Ador Dionisio told Fox 11. “I already learned from Vegas. Get out of there as fast as you can.”

“It’s the second time in about a year and a month that this has happened,” Nicholas Champion told CBS News. “It’s a big thing for us. We’re all a big family and unfortunately this family got hit twice.”

Many at the scene were emotional as they recalled their efforts to survive, which included hiding in the attic and throwing chairs through windows to escape the bar.

John Hedge was at the bar with his stepfather, Tim, when the shooting broke out.

John hedge tim
John Hedge (left) says his stepfather, Tim (right), came back into the bar to rescue him. ABC 7/GMA

‘I should have stayed.’

“I thought it was a joke when the shots started firing,” Hedge told ABC 13. “I don’t know how I didn’t get shot.”

His stepfather was just outside the entrance of the bar, getting ready to leave after playing some pool, when he heard the first gunshots and went back in to rescue his stepson.

Tim broke down crying as he spoke about his efforts to save his stepson, saying he wished he would have gone back in and rescued more people.

“I was worried about my boy,” he told ABC 13. “I should have stayed. I apologise to anybody who got hurt or passed.”

He said all of the people in the club appeared to be between 18 to 20 years old.

“They’re all young,” he said. “This shouldn’t happen to them.”