CALIFORNIA — At least 12 people were killed and more than a dozen others injured in a shooting at a southern California bar.
During a news conference early Thursday morning, authorities said they responded to the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks within three minutes of receiving calls of an active shooter inside the business.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman were the first on the scene 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.
— Nina Harrelson (@NinaHarrelsonTV) November 8, 2018
Once backup arrived, police made entry and found 11 people dead. The gunman – identified by ABC News as David Ian Long – was also dead. It’s believed that Long killed himself before authorities entered the building.
A motive for the shooting hat not been determined.
According to CBS News, Long, a former Marine, was in his late 20s and carried a handgun.
At least 12 others were found injured inside the building. Still others with varying injuries made their way to local hospitals on their own.
According to the bar’s website it was college night and country two-step lessons were being offered Wednesday at the Borderline.
The bar, which includes a large dance hall with a stage and a pool room along with several smaller areas for eating and drinking, is a popular hangout for students from nearby California Lutheran University who enjoy country music. It’s also close to several other universities including California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, Pepperdine University in Malibu and Moorpark College in Moorpark.
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.”
One witness told a CNN reporter that the gunman shot the young bouncer at the door and then shot the young female cashier.
“Shots kept going. We just heard people say run and booked it as fast as we could,” said Erika Sigman.
People could be seen carrying one victim to an ambulance. Others helped paramedics with the injured.
Jordan Karr spoke to his friend who was inside the bar.
“A shooter came in and started shooting off shots. People broke windows to try to get everyone out. Said his friend Tim was hit through the shoulder.”
“All of a sudden everyone screamed get down. Everyone on the dance floor jumped behind something or dog piled on the floor somewhere,” said Teylor Whittler.
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.
President Donald 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 Marine Corps said Long entered service in August 2008 and served up until March 2013. He was deployed overseas to Afghanistan in 2010, and received numerous awards for his service to our country.
According to CBS News, deputies had been in contact with Long on several occasions, including one instance in April. The news station was told Long was irate and irrational when he made contact with deputies, but they deemed it was post traumatic stress from his time in the military.
The other times Long was in contact with police was when he was a victim of battery in 2015 and when he was involved in a traffic accident.