Witnesses to a brutal mass shooting that took place in a California bar Wednesday night have spoken about their experiences, as stories of heroism continue to emerge from the horror. One such hero was 20-year-old Matt Wennerstrom, who said he’d been in the Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks for around 30 minutes when the first shots rang out.
“I grabbed as many people as I possibly could around me, everyone, and got them below the pool table … until we heard the shots stop,” Wennerstrom told CBS News. “At that point, I knew [the gunman] was reloading and there was not much he was going to be able to do.”
As the atmosphere became increasingly panicked, Wennerstrom spotted a few other brave souls tossing barstools out the window to create a quick escape route for the stricken crowd. He decided to “follow suit” and do everything he could to help out those around him.
“We just pushed people towards the bar so they weren’t in the direct line of sight of him and then just filed as many people ― everyone that was there in that area ― out through that back window,” he said.
Witness tells @CarterEvans when the gunman was in the bar, he saw someone throw a bar stool through the window, so he did the same and pushed people towards the bar so they weren't in direct line of sight of the gunman https://t.co/lrdq6jGcKE pic.twitter.com/oXFAtgRDXb
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 8, 2018
Another survivor who was bold enough to tell her story was 19-year-old Teylor Whittler. The teenager was celebrating her friend’s 21st birthday at the popular venue before the night took an absolutely horrifying turn.
“I was on the dance floor dancing and all of a sudden I heard the shots,” she told ABC News. “I turned around and I saw it was an actual person with a gun and I couldn’t believe it at first, but my initial reaction was to run and take cover,” she said. “A bunch of people dog-piled on top of each other.”
But then, something extraordinary happened. Whittler distinctly remembers a group of men throwing themselves on top of the girls to protect them from the hail of gunfire. They were “ready to take a bullet for every single one of us,” she added.
“I ended up getting caught on the ground and stumbled over by multiple people. I got hit in the head by a stool that was being picked up to throw through a window,” Whittler said. “Some guy came up behind me and grabbed me and said, ‘Get up, we have to go.'”
One of these heroes was Wennerstrom, and clearly, despite the chaos and terror, this man knew the presence of God in these traumatic moments.
“All I did was grab as many people as I could and pulled them underneath the table and then till I heard a break in the shots and then we got people out of there as much as we could,” he told KABC-TV. “I know where I’m going if I die, so I was not worried to sacrifice. So all I wanted to do was get as many people out of there as possible.”