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13 dead in shooting at Thousand Oaks, CA bar and music venue

Borderline Bar & Grill

A shooting at Thousands Oaks, CA bar and music venue Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday (11/7) night left thirteen people dead, including the shooter and a sheriff’s sergeant, LA Times reports. The suspected shooter, whose identity is not currently known, entered the bar around 11:20 pm, and threw smoke bombs in addition to shooting into the crowd of hundreds of people, many of them college students. Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol Officer were first at the scene and fired back at the assailant; Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Helus was shot multiple times in the process, and died in a local hospital on Thursday morning.

UPDATE: Associated Press reports that the suspected shooter has been identified as Ian David Long, age 28, of Newbury Park, CA. Long was a Marine Corps veteran, and reportedly had a .45 glock handgun.

More from LA Times:

Witnesses reported a horrifying scene as gunfire echoed through the club and those inside ran for cover, in some cases using chairs to break windows to escape the building. Others hid in bathrooms and an attic as they frantically called loved ones who were hearing reports of the shooting.

The first 911 calls reporting the shooting were received around 11:20 p.m., according to Dean. Helus and the CHP officer arrived on scene and engaged the suspect by 11:26 p.m., he said.

A motive in the shooting was not immediately clear, but Dean said there was no evidence linking the attack to terrorism. Police believe the weapon used was a handgun.

“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said. “There’s blood everywhere.”

At least ten other people arrived at local hospitals with injuries sustained trying to leave the bar, according to Dean.

ABC7 Eyewitness News spoke to witnesses to the tragic shooting:

Witness John Hedge, of Moorpark, said he saw a suspect throwing smoke bombs into the front of the restaurant. He also said he saw a security guard get shot.

“I was at the front door and I was talking to my stepdad. I just started hearing these big pops. Pop, pop, pop. There was probably three or four, I hit the ground. I look up – the security guard is dead. Well, I don’t want to say he was dead, but he was shot.

“He was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back of the cash register…and he just kept firing. I ran out the front door,” he said.

Hodge added that there may have been about 12 shots by the time he got out of the door.

He said the gunman had a beard, wore a hat, had a black jacket and may have had glasses.

“I thought it was a joke when the shots started firing. I know people there. I hope everybody’s OK. I don’t know how I didn’t get shot,” the man said.

Tim, Hodge’s stepfather, who was in tears, said he was next to the entrance about to leave after playing pool when smoke came into the room.

“He fired the first shot. I knew it was live. I knew it was real. My son thought it was a joke so I pulled him down and got some cover. I looked up and he was moving to the right. He shot the front doorman, who was just a young man. Then he shot the cashier, just a young girl.

“Then he started moving to the right. He wasn’t looking at us. Then he went into the office, where all the cash and stuff is. He didn’t say anything at all. He just started shooting,” he said.

Authorities are still establishing whether the shooter died from a self-inflicted wound or while exchanging gunfire with the responding officers.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services advises those looking for information about family and friends who may have been present at Borderline to call a hotline they’ve set up: (805) 465-6650.

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