13 Dead Including Gunman in Shooting at California Bar

November 8, 2018, 9:31 am EST | Share:

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — On Thursday, November 8th, authorities in Southern California reported that a hooded gunman opened fire using a handgun and a smoke device, killing twelve people at a local bar.

The shooting occurred Wednesday night during a weekly “college night” where revelers were forced to use barstools to break second story windows and jump to safety. Eleven people inside the bar died on scene along with a sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean stated.

“It was a horrific scene… there’s blood everywhere.” Dead said in the parking lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that authorities have identified the gunman. The official said the 29-year-old man deployed a smoke device and used a .45-caliber handgun when he opened fire. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at a Parkland, Florida school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. That, it turn, closely followed the series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, CNN and former officials critical of President Donald Trump.

Trump said Thursday on Twitter that he has been “fully briefed on the terrible shooting.” He praised law enforcement, saying “Great bravery shown by police” and said “God bless all of the victims and families of the victims.”

The gunman at the dance bar was tall and wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations at the scene. He first fired on a person working the door, then appeared to open fire at random at the people inside, they said.

Many more people had minor injuries, including some that came from their attempt to flee, Dean said.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman were responding to several 911 calls when they arrived at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m., the sheriff said. They heard gunfire and went inside.

Helus was immediately hit with multiple gunshots, Dean said. The highway patrolman cleared the perimeter and pulled Helus out, and then waited as a SWAT team and scores more officers arrived. Helus died early Thursday at a hospital.

By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped. They found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman. It’s not yet clear how the gunman died, Dean said.

The shooting happened on college night. Two-step lessons in country dancing were being offered Wednesday at the Borderline, according to its website.

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