At least 12 people were killed by a gunman at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA, late on Wednesday night, local law enforcement said Thursday morning. One of the victims has been identified as a sheriff’s sergeant who responded to the shooting. The gunman is also dead.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told the media that 911 had received “multiple calls” that a shooting was taken place at the Borderline Bar and Grill at around 11:20 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday night. He identified the sheriff’s sergeant who died as Ron Helus. He said that the suspect, who has not been identified but is thought to have acted alone, was dead when more officers arrived on the scene. Helus died at a local hospital; the bodies of the other 11 were found at the bar when other officers arrived.
Dean called the scene at the bar “horrific,” saying there was “blood everywhere.”
Ventura County Sheriff’s Captain Garo Kuredjian said that there were hundreds of people in the Borderline bar at the time of the shooting, the New York Times reported. The bar is located near Pepperdine University; Wednesday nights are “College Country Night,” according to the bar’s website. The school tweeted that several of its students were known to be at the bar at the time of the shooting.
One witness to the shooting, Matt Wennerstrom, told reporters that the shooter had a “handgun” and that he had first noticed him opening fire on employees at the bar’s front desk. He said he and other patrons had smashed some of the bar’s windows and helped other people escape through them.
Witnesses also said that the gunman had thrown smoke bombs into the bar as he opened fire. “Everybody just yelled, ‘run, he’s coming,’” one witness told Good Morning America.
The mass shooting comes less than two weeks after 11 people were murdered by an anti-Semitic gunman in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Update, 7:52 a.m. ET: Some of the people who were in the Borderline bar at the time of the shooting were survivors of the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, their friends told reporters.
“A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here,” Chandler Gunn, who went to the bar after his mother informed him of the shooting, told the Los Angeles Times.“There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice.”
Update, 7:59 a.m. ET: President Donald Trump has publicly responded to the shooting, calling it “terrible” and praising the first responders’ “great bravery.”
Update, 8:38 a.m. ET: While the name of the suspected gunman has not yet been released, the Associated Press reports that police have identified the assailant, and that he is a 29-year-old man who used a .45-caliber handgun during the attack.
Update, 9:45 a.m. ET: Citing law enforcement sources, multiple news outlets say the suspected gunman was named David Ian Long, who reportedly went by “Ian.”
Update, 10:08 a.m. ET: During a Thursday morning press conference, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean corrected earlier reports, naming the shooter as 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran Ian David Long. Dean confirmed that local law enforcement had had several run-ins with Long in the past, but did not offer a motive for Wednesday night’s shooting.