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Today: After the Mayhem, Mourning in Thousand Oaks

A deadly attack at a bar leaves Thousand Oaks in mourning and its sense of safety shattered.

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After the Mayhem, Mourning in Thousand Oaks

Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus was on the phone with his wife when reports of a shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill came in. “I gotta go handle a call,” Helus said before hanging up. “I love you. I’ll talk to you later.” Soon, the 54-year-old would be one of the first two officers to reach the country music bar. After exchanging fire with the gunman — a troubled 28-year-old who had served in the Marines — Helus would be fatally wounded. In the aftermath of the Thousand Oaks shooting that killed a dozen people and left 18 injured, stories of panic, bloodshed and heroics emerged. Family and friends remembered the people who were killed. Among them: an 18-year-old freshman at Pepperdine University, a 48-year-old bouncer with dreams of a better life, a 33-year-old veteran of the Marines, a 27-year-old who had survived the Las Vegas mass shooting just over a year ago. And once again, the question: How could this happen?

A candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the Borderline Bar & Grill held at the Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks.
A candlelight vigil to honor the victims of the Borderline Bar & Grill held at the Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

More About the Shooting

-- “We have been drawn into this terror”: At vigils, Thousand Oaks residents grieved for the victims.

-- Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom criticized gun rights advocates in his first public appearance since election night.

-- Columnist Steve Lopez has some thoughts on vets who need help and our nation’s gun laws.

-- This was the eighth mass shooting in the U.S. this year in which four or more victims died, according to data compiled by Mother Jones magazine.

-- Here’s how to donate blood and support victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting.

Fire Season Flares Up

As Thousand Oaks struggled to come to grips with the shooting, two fires laid nearby portions of Ventura County under siege. Powerful winds whipped up the Hill fire, pushing it through canyons to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which were evacuated. A second blaze, the Woolsey fire, raged overnight through Oak Park into Agoura Hills, burning homes and reportedly leaving people trapped. Meanwhile, in Northern California, at least 1,000 structures were lost when a fire swept through the town of Paradise, forcing residents to run for their lives. Officials described the scene as “mass devastation.”

The Push to Protect Mueller

As thousands of protesters rallied in front of the White House, in New York’s Times Square and elsewhere to demand acting Atty. Gen. Matthew Whitaker not interfere with the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, House Democrats took the first steps to try to protect Mueller’s inquiry. Whitaker, an outspoken critic of the probe before he joined the Justice Department, has signaled he will not recuse himself from supervising it. Sources also say they do not believe Whitaker would approve a subpoena of President Trump as part of that investigation.

More Immigration Battles Loom

Since the election, Trump has gone mostly silent on immigration and a caravan of Central American migrants heading to the U.S. that he labeled a “national emergency.” But on Thursday, his administration announced a major effort to restrict people from claiming asylum at the U.S. border. The announcement came just hours after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Trump in the treatment of Dreamers, young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Officials expect both cases to be headed to the Supreme Court in the spring.

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More From Washington

-- The Supreme Court says 85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fractured three ribs in a fall in her office at the court and is in the hospital.

-- Is the debate over Obamacare finally over? The midterm election appears to have delivered a powerful validation of the law.

-- After revoking the press credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, the White House stood by its decision as critics assailed it for falsely accusing him of mistreating an intern at Trump’s news conference and for disseminating a doctored video of the incident.

CALIFORNIA

-- In the latest ballot count, GOP Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters lost ground in their House races. Tens of thousands of ballots have yet to be counted in each contest.

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-- Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez of Whittier, whose husband has been indicted on criminal charges in Connecticut, pulled her name from consideration for a top House leadership post.

-- A man suspected of killing at least four people during a spate of attacks on L.A. County’s homeless has been charged with four additional counts of attempted murder.

-- The Federal Trade Commission is alleging that a massive real estate scam based in Irvine bilked people out of $100 million.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- Get ready for Thanksgiving now. For inspiration, chef Sang Yoon of the restaurant Lukshon describes how he gave up on turkey and built an American melting-pot meal instead.

-- If you still want turkey, try making your Thanksgiving meal on sheet pans.

-- Gift shopping season is here. Just fill in the blanks to find the perfect item in our gift guide.

-- What to do in your garden this month? Start with planting.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Two years after exiting “The Walking Dead,” actor Steven Yeun has embraced the opportunity to do something different. He’s found it in director Lee Chang-dong’s film “Burning.”

-- The Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” opens next week. Our critic found it to be “one great big Dumble-snore.” Ouch.

-- “King Kong,” starring a giant animatronic ape with soulful eyes, blurs the line between cinema and theater on Broadway.

NATION-WORLD

-- Razor-thin margins in Florida's bitter races for the U.S. Senate and governor are raising the specter of possible recounts.

-- In Yemen’s protracted civil war, humanitarian organizations are warning of the likelihood of a severe escalation in civilian casualties.

-- Emboldened by Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suggesting a tough new approach to the Palestinian territories.

BUSINESS

-- To replace Elon Musk as chair, Tesla appointed a director who has been on its board for years, fueling doubt about whether Musk will be reined in.

-- Google is promising to be more open about its handling of sexual misconduct cases, a week after an employee protest over its male-dominated culture.

-- The auction of Fox Sports’ 22 regional networks is drawing interest from traditional TV broadcasters, Amazon and private equity firms, including one that wants to bring Lakers superstar LeBron James into play.

SPORTS

-- The Dodgers plan to keep their player payroll below the level that would require a luxury tax payment for at least the next four years, according to a document prepared for potential investors.

-- Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has made his NFL dreams come true. Just take a look at the poster he created when he was a kid.

OPINION

-- A Thousand Oaks bar is the latest battlefield in our war on ourselves. Is that what Americans want?

-- Trump did something that seems impossible: He made Jeff Sessions into a sympathetic figure, writes UC Berkeley law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Two lawyers, including Kellyanne Conway’s husband, argue that Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general is unconstitutional. (New York Times)

-- “They were threatening me and my family”: Tucker Carlson describes an incident in which protesters targeted his home. (Washington Post)

-- Not just “coastal elites”: Where the creative class thrives in rural America. (CityLab)

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ONLY IN L.A.

Cocktails, recliner seats and in-theater dining have become de rigueur in luxury cinemas. So how do you bring a wow factor to the seen-it-all elite of Pacific Palisades? At the revamped Bay Theatre, officially opening today, they’re hoping the expensive seats imported from Barcelona and an old-school 35-millimeter projector will be a draw. Price of a ticket: up to $27 per adult.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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