A gunman opened fire inside a crowded country-music bar late Wednesday in Southern California, killing a dozen people, a toll that included a sheriff’s deputy who had rushed inside to confront the shooter, police said. The gunman was later found dead inside.
The gunman has been identified as Ian David Long, 28.
From Washington Post:
The bloodshed erupted as people were line dancing on “College Country Night” at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a popular nightspot in Thousand Oaks, Calif., a city near Los Angeles, witnesses said. It set off a panic inside as people scrambled to flee the gunfire, try to find hiding places or rush for the exits.
Among the dead was Ron Helus, a veteran sergeant in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office who was mortally wounded when he responded to the incident just minutes after 911 calls began flooding in, authorities said.
The only weapon recovered by early Thursday was a handgun, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. The suspect, who was not immediately identified, was found dead inside the bar by authorities.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean told reporters. “There’s blood everywhere. The suspect is part of that.”
The carnage made Thousand Oaks the latest community riven by a mass shooting, and it came just days after 11 people were gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue, just months after 17 students and staff were massacred in a Parkland, Fla., high school and a year after rampages in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Tex., killed a combined 84 people.
Dean alluded to said these earlier attacks and said the violence in California “is part of the horrors that are happening in our country and everywhere, and I think it’s impossible to put any logic or any sense to the senseless.”
Dean said he had no reason to believe the shooting was connected to terrorism, “but we certainly will look at that option.”
Helus, the deputy who died at the hospital about an hour after sustaining his injury, was a 29-year veteran of the force and was expecting to retire soon. He was survived by a wife and a son. “He died a hero,” Dean said, his voice cracking, “because he went in to save lives.”
President Trump said on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting, and praised the “great bravery shown by police,” adding: “God bless all of the victims and families of the victims.”
In addition to the dead, Dean estimated that more than a dozen other people were “rescued from the scene and taken to local hospitals.” Additional victims with minor injuries fled the scene on their own, he added.
“I know there are parents wondering, ‘Oh my gosh, was one of my children in there? Or was it my sister or my brother?'” he said.
The attacker is a white male who may have used a larger clip for his handgun or was able to reload, according to a person familiar with the matter. Investigators were still working to determine the motive and other details.