NAPA (CBS SF) — Dozens of friends, neighbors and family members gathered in Napa Monday in memory of an 18-year-old college student who was among those victims gunned down in a Thousands Oaks bar last week.
Alaina Housley, who had graduated in June from Napa’s Vintage High School, was at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks Wednesday night line dancing with friends from Pepperdine University when 28-year-old ex-Marine Ian David Long walked in and opened fire.
By the time he took his own life, Long had killed 11 people and a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy who had responded to the shooting at the country music bar.
“I’m never going to be able to wrap my mind around the loss of such an amazing person,” said high school friend Shelby Wesner. “It’s Alaina. It doesn’t feel real.”
“All she wanted to do was make the world a better,” added Taylor Bragg.
Among the mourners was Alaina’s parents.
Arik Housley talks about the impact of his daughter’s death
“It’s Alaina’s voice,” said her father, Arik Housley, when asked why he chose to attend and speak at the rally.
“We have our moments where — it comes as waves the emotions, but we know that her voice will help to make change here,” he continued. “It sounds crazy, it should be such a simple message of just being nice to one another…Looking at somebody and asking just how they are doing and actually caring.”
Arik Housely said while the family was mourning Alaina’s death, it was also trying to celebrate her life.
“We’re going to tell stories, funny stories about her and just celebrate the life that she had,” he said. “She was in the right place. She loved Pepperdine. She loved her family. Her roommates down there were so giving…We encouraged her to go line dancing that night. This is just senseless acts of violence because we are not there for one another.”