'Horrific, blood everywhere': 12 dead after 29-yr-old gunman open fires into crowded California bar
The shooter is one of the 13 dead, with bomb squads still actively canvassing the area for possible explosives
Thirteen people, including a Ventura County Sheriff's deputy and the gunman himself, are those confirmed dead in the shooting that unfolded inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night. It is currently unclear whether the shooter took his own life or whether he was shot and killed.
The shooter has been identified as 29-year-old David Ian Long. Witnesses described him as a heavily-tattooed white man who was wearing a black trench coat and a black bandana at the time. Long was using a Glock .45 that was legally bought in Ventura County, and also threw smoke grenades to confuse the crowds.
Law enforcement was called to the bar at around 11:30 p.m. local time on reports of an active shooter in the area. Described as bearded and wearing a hat and glasses, the shooter was reportedly armed with a handgun and shot a security guard standing at the entrance before entering and throwing smoke grenades inside.
Witnesses say at least 30 shots were fired inside into the crowd before panicked revelers began using furniture to break windows in their desperate bids to escape. After the bar was cleared by authorities, emergency services could be seen entering and carrying away the injured, one of whom was a female cashier who was working that night.
According to the bar's website, a 'College Country night' was taking place that night between 9 pm and 2 am when the shooting unfolded. Said to be a popular spot for students, with CNN reporting that there may have been students from both California Lutheran University and nearby Pepperdine University at the bar. Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian speculated there may have been hundreds of people inside.
Because police were initially unsure whether the shooter had escaped the bar's premises, bomb squads and SWAT teams were put in place to canvas the area and intercept the suspect. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) posted on Twitter that it also had "multiple assets" from the ATF Los Angeles Field Division responding to the shooting.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the scene of the shooting as "horrific." He said, "It’s a horrific scene in there, there is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that, and I didn’t want to get that close and disturb the scene and possibly disturb the investigation," and confessed that the motive was still unclear.
"This guy just came out of nowhere and came out with a gun and shot people": https://t.co/Und2KCJXmc— CNN (@CNN) 8 November 2018
What we know about the Thousand Oaks shooting:
- At least 12 dead, including sheriff's deputy
- Suspected gunman also dead
- Multiple injured
Updates: https://t.co/mUkB48LZGn pic.twitter.com/F6sOt9wTx2
Commenting on the shooting, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox insisted to CNN that the city was "one of the safest cities in the country" and that "these types of incidents can happen really at any place". He also confirmed the death of the shooter and said, "It’s my understanding they went in and neutralized the shooter (and) they identified a number of causalities. I don’t know the condition of the victims but my understanding is there are a number (of) wounded included a local deputy… all of the victims have been transported to hospitals."
"We are consistently ranked as one of the highest with respect to the lowest crime rate per capita, we’re proud of that," he continued, adding, "The reality is that these types of incidents can happen really at any place, at any time, even in communities that are considered extremely safe."
Sheriff Dean paid tribute to his fallen colleague, Sgt. Ron Helus, who was one of the first to respond at the scene. He said Helus had been working on the force for 29 years and was looking to retire in the "next year or so". He confirmed that the sergeant died in the hospital, adding emotionally, "Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriff's sergeant. He was totally committed, he gave his all and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero; he went in to save lives, to save other people."
The suspected gunman has not been identified yet.