A mass shooting in the late hours of Wednesday night has left 13 people dead, authorities confirmed.
A gunman opened fire at a California bar, killing 11 victims inside, before shooting a sheriff’s sergeant who responded to the scene, and ultimately turning the gun on himself, the Associated Press reported.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian confirmed that first reports of the shooting occurred at 11:20 p.m. PST at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., approximately 40 miles west of Los Angeles.
The country-western themed bar was hosting “College Country Night” on Wednesday, with “hundreds” of people in attendance, according to law enforcement.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said the shooting left “multiple other victims” with varying levels of injuries, and an estimated number of injuries could not yet be determined. Dean called the scene a “tragic, tragic situation,” USA Today reported.
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) November 8, 2018
“We have no idea if there is a terrorism link to this event or not,” Dean said.
Witnesses said the shooter was dressed in all black with a trench coat and used smoke grenades to distract line-dancing patrons inside the bar before he opened fire. Some witnesses also said he fired at least 30 rounds from a handgun.
Authorities have not yet confirmed any of these accounts, however.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus was among the first to respond to the scene and was shot when he entered the building. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean is overcome with emotion as he announces the identity of the sheriff’s sergeant killed in the deadly shooting at a California bar. Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus was one of 12 people killed. pic.twitter.com/IKufNnty4B
— KRCG 13 (@KRCG13) November 8, 2018
Authorities have not yet confirmed how the gunman was killed, only confirming that he was dead.
“This guy just came out of nowhere and came out with a gun and shot people in Thousand Oaks, California,” witness Holden Harrah told CNN. “And that’s what’s really blowing my mind, it’s a really safe area.”
VIDEO: KABC-TV helicopter image shows person loaded into ambulance, rescue workers conducting CPR, during active shooter situation in Southern California https://t.co/KRlguIpI2p pic.twitter.com/DAUWov5YrS
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) November 8, 2018
“He was shooting everything, from the speakers to anything,” witness Kayla Simmons said.
Patrons used barstools to break the windows to escape.
“It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out,” witness Nick Steinwender said. “From what I heard, the gunman started shooting at the front desk. … Students were hiding in the attics, bathrooms and stuff like that.”
Witness recalls watching the gunman’s movements through the club. pic.twitter.com/jUC48LqmtX
— Morning Express with Robin Meade (@MorningExp) November 8, 2018
The bar is located just a few miles away from California Lutheran University and is considered a common entertainment venue for students.