Washington: A gunman opened fire inside a crowded bar on late Wednesday night in Thousand Oaks region of California, killing 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, who had rushed inside to confront him, authorities said.
According to Washington Post, the gunman was later found dead inside.
Gunfire erupted as people were line dancing on ‘College Country Night’ at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a popular nightspot, situated in northwest of Los Angeles, witnesses said.
Among the dead was Ron Helus, a veteran sergeant in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, who was critically wounded, when he responded to calls flooding in, authorities said.
The only weapon recovered by Thursday was a handgun, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said, adding that authorities were still trying to identify the shooter.
‘It’s a horrific scene in there. There’s blood everywhere. The suspect is part of that,’ said Mr Dean, adding that he had no reason to believe that there was a link to terrorism, ‘but, we certainly will look at that option’.
US President Donald Trump posted on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting.
Helus, the deputy who died at the hospital about an hour after sustaining injuries, was a 29-year-old veteran of the force and was expecting to retire soon. He is survived by wife and a son.
‘He died a hero, because he went to save lives,’ said the Sheriff.
In addition to the dead, Mr Dean estimated that there were around 10-12 victims, who were ‘rescued from the scene and taken to local hospitals’.
Additional victims with minor injuries fled the scene on their own, he added.
‘I know there are parents wondering, ‘Oh my gosh, was one of my children in there? Or was it my sister or my brother?” he said.
Mr Dean said the mass shooting, at a bar packed with students from nearby colleges, including Cal Lutheran and Pepperdine Universities, ‘is part of the horrors that are happening in our country and everywhere, and I think it’s impossible to put any logic or any sense to the senseless’.
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