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Family confirmed that the niece of a former Fox News correspondent was among the dead in the California nightclub massacre late Wednesday night that took the lives of 12 people and injured many more.
The young girl, 18-year-old Alaina Housley, was reported missing by her family. Housley’s uncle is former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, and her aunt is actress Tamera Mowry-Housley.
The suspect, who reportedly killed himself, opened fire at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks during a college night country music event.
On Thursday, Tamera pleaded on social media to help find her niece after a young girl purporting to be Alaina’s suitemate said that she was missing.
The young girl, named only as Ashley, wrote, “My suitemate is still missing, she is wearing denim shorts, a blue flannel and sneakers, pls let me know if you know anything #Borderline.”
In a tweet, Tamera responded, “Ashely [sic] this is her aunt Tamera Mowry Housley. Can you please DM me your information?”
— Ashley (@amowreader) November 8, 2018
Adam later tweeted, “Please pray if you believe….pray.”
Please pray if you believe….pray.
— Adam Housley (@adamhousley) November 8, 2018
A report in the Los Angeles Times revealed that Adam had gone looking for his niece at Los Robles Regional Medical Center around 3:30 a.m. local time, but was turned away, as the facility had been placed on a lockdown.
Adam told the outlet that his niece’s Apple watch and iPhone still showed her location as being on the bar’s dance floor.
Adam added that his gut told him his niece was dead. “My gut is saying she’s inside the bar, dead,” he said. “I’m hoping I’m wrong.”
In a statement later Thursday, however, the couple confirmed Adam’s fears: Alaina had not survived the massacre.
“Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks,” the couple’s statement read. “Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner. We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time.”
“Words can’t describe the grief over losing our daughter, Alaina,” the teen’s parents said in a Thursday night statement.
“She was everything we could hope for in a child: kind, smart, beautiful and respectful. She continued the family’s tradition of attending Pepperdine University. She was so happy to be a Wave,” the statement said.
“We are grateful to the Pepperdine community for their support during this difficult time. We want to honor Alaina by focusing on how she lived her life. She would have enjoyed the public debate that is certain to happen after this tragedy. But she would have insisted that it be respectful with an eye toward solving these senseless shootings. We send our condolences to the family and friends of the other victims. We especially thank Sgt. Ron Helus’ family for their sacrifice.”
Also among the shooting victims is Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who immediately rushed into the bar with a patrolman after hearing gunfire. Helus was shot several times and was later taken to a local hospital, where he died early Thursday.
Long opened fire inside Borderline about 11:20 p.m., during the bar’s “college country night” event, authorities said. Sheriff Geoff Dean said it appears Long shot the unarmed security guard first and turned to the right to shoot other security and staff members before opening fire on the rest of the patrons. No one at the venue was armed.
About 150 to 200 people – including 16 students from Pepperdine University, along with others from California Lutheran University and California State University Channel Islands – were inside Borderline when witnesses said Long tossed a smoke device into the crowd and then, amid the confusion, fired at least 30 shots.
The suspect had served in the Marine Corps from August 2008 to March 2013, according to military records. He may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was known to law enforcement officials due to several unspecified “contacts” stretching back several years, an offficial said.