29-year-old used smoke, .45-caliber handgun

By  | 

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — UPDATE:
5:15 a.m.

A law enforcement official says authorities have identified the gunman and the handgun he used to kill 12 people at a Southern California bar.

The official told The Associated Press the man was 29 years old and deployed a smoke device and used a .45-caliber handgun when he opened fire inside the Borderline Bar & Grill late Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.

The official declined to provide any other details, speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to publicly discuss the investigation.

Authorities and witnesses say the gunman wore dark clothing and didn't say anything as he fired inside the bar. Hundreds of people fled, some breaking windows and jumping out of second-floor windows to escape.

-- Associated Press Writer Michael Balsamo in Washington.

___

5:05 a.m.

Video accessed by The Associated Press shows gripping images at the scene of a mass shooting at a California bar.

Several rounds of gunfire can be heard as a terrified witness runs out of the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Police cars are seen arriving and an armed officer takes up position outside the bar. Three men rush out carrying a bloodied fourth individual. They try and stem the bleeding of what appears to be a gunshot wound.

A sheriff says 13 people were killed, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman.

___

5 a.m.

President Donald Trump is offering condolences after a mass shooting at a Southern California bar.

Trump said on Twitter Thursday 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."

A gunman opened fire on a crowd at a country dance bar holding a weekly "college night" Wednesday night. The mass shooting killed 12 people and sent hundreds fleeing in terror. The gunman was later found dead at the scene.

Law enforcement said the dead from the shooting included 11 people inside the bar and a sheriff's sergeant who was the first officer inside the door.

___

4:55 a.m.

A survivor of the California bar shooting says the gunman was wearing a black hoodie and holding a handgun as he opened fire.

Cole Knapp is a freshman at Moorpark College and was inside the Borderline Bar & Grill when the shooting began.

He says he tried to get as many people to cover as he could. He says he fled through an exit door to a closed patio where he told people "everybody get over the fence as quickly as you can," and followed them over.

Then he says he found a highway patrol officer nearby who just happened to pull someone over, and he screamed to him, "there's a shooter in there!"

Knapp says the officer "was kind of in disbelief," then saw he was serious. He says he has friends who haven't been accounted for.

___
4:15 a.m.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean choked back tears as he described the sheriff's sergeant killed in a mass shooting at a California bar.

The sheriff said Sgt. Ron Helus undoubtedly saved lives by going in to confront the gunman. He says Helus was the first responder and was immediately hit with multiple gunshots.

He says a highway patrolman pulled out Helus and waited for a SWAT team as scores of other officers converged on the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m.

By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped, and they found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman. He says Helus was later declared dead at a hospital.

Dean says Helus was his longtime friend and gym partner and planned to retire soon after 29 years with the force. He leaves a wife and son.

The sheriff says he told Helus' wife "he died a hero because he went in to save lives."

___

3:50 a.m.

Survivors of the bar shooting are describing moments of panic and heroism as a gunman turned a dance floor into a killing zone.

Nineteen-year-old Tayler Whitler says she was dancing and her friends were at a table by the door as the gunman opened fire. She says everyone yelled "Get down!" and it was silent for a couple seconds, then she heard "Get up, he's coming!" and people were trampling on each other to get out.

Nineteen-year-old Erika Sigman found herself hiding with a group of strangers, and they were holding her hands.

She says "there is a lot of bad in this world, but there is also a lot of good and people will help."

A sheriff says 13 people were killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman.

___
3 a.m.

A sheriff says 13 people are dead, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman, after a shooting inside a crowded Southern California bar late Wednesday.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean says sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building. He died at a hospital early Thursday.

Authorities did not say how the gunman died.

Dean says around 10 other people were shot and wounded. No other information on the victims was immediately known.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20 p.m. at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

The bar's website says its hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.

2 a.m.

Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Eric Buschow says the gunman is dead inside a Southern California bar where 11 people were injured late Wednesday.

Authorities say a responding deputy was shot and taken to a hospital. No other information on the victims was immediately known.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20 p.m. at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

The bar's website says its hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.

Original Story:
A gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on "college night," wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene, police said.

Ventura County sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian said he could not confirm whether any of those shot were dead. Kuredjian said he could not confirm that the shooter was killed or in custody, but said there was no further threat to the community.

Kuredjian said hundreds of people were inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11:20 p.m., and shots were still being fired when deputies arrived.

Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was inside the bar when a gunman walked in with his face partly covered by something resembling a ski mask, opened fire on a person working the door, then began to shoot people at random.

"It was really, really really shocking," Whitler told KABC-TV as she stood with her father in the Borderline parking lot. "It looked like he knew what he was doing."

It was college night and country two-step lessons were being offered Wednesday at the Borderline, according to its website.

It has been "quite some time" since there was a shooting of any kind in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, just across the county line.

Nick Steinwender, student body president at nearby California Lutheran University, rushed to the scene when he heard about a shooting at the bar where he knew friends and fellow students were inside.

"It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, people hopping over gates to get out" Steinwender told KABC.

He said he heard from people inside that they were hiding in bathrooms and the attic of the bar.