12 people were killed in Southern California after a gunman opened fire in a crowded bar.
Ventura County Mayor Jeff Dean said officials had identified the gunman as Ian Long, 28, of the US Marines. Long was found dead inside the bar. Authorities believe he shot and killed himself.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said the deputy mayor, Sgt. Ron Hillus, was among the victims. Up to 16 people were injured.
Hundreds of people were at Borderline Bar and Grill, in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles, on Wednesday night when the shooter entered and opened fire. Witnesses reported using bar stools to break windows in a desperate attempt to escape. Sheriff Dean described a shocking scene.
“It’s a terrible sight there,” said Dean. “There is blood everywhere.”
Dean said the mental health crisis team was summoned to Long’s home in April after it was found he was acting “angry” and “a little irrational.” He was not arrested at that time.
Dean said Long used a legally purchased .45 caliber Glock during filming. Long was a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 to 2013.
Dean said that Ong, who was wearing a black T-shirt, shot a security guard who was standing outside the border before entering and shooting several other employees of the bar.
He said that Long had no connection to Borderline, and authorities were unable to find a motive. Dean said Long was a “battery victim” at a different bar in Thousand Oaks in January 2015. Long also had two minor traffic citations in recent years.
The mayor responded to 911 calls around 11.20 p.m. Dean said that Sgt Hilos, a 29-year-old veteran of the force, entered the tape with a member of the Highway Patrol and “immediately exchanged fire with the suspect.”
Helus was shot multiple times before he was pulled from the bar by a Highway Patrol man, whose name has not been released, and taken to a nearby hospital.
“There is no doubt that they saved lives by going there and dealing with the suspect,” Dean said. “It would have been much worse.”
Helos, who was planning to retire next year, passed away early Thursday morning. He was talking to his wife when calls started coming about a shooting.
“Hey, I have to deal with a call. I love you. He said to her, according to Sheriff Dean,” He told her, “I’ll talk to you later.” It was the last time she spoke with her husband. Deans and members of the crowd lined the streets as his body was being transported from Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks To the examiner’s office in Ventura.
He saddens us all and cries about our feelings. He died a hero. Dean said: He went to save lives and save others.
Witnesses described a scene of panic inside the crowded bar.
After the bar-goers heard gunshots, Taylor Whitler said, “Within a split second, everyone shouted, ‘Come down.’
She said, “I ran to the left of the dance floor and got off and everyone huddled on top of each other. There was silence for a few seconds and two players ran toward the back of the club and said,“ Get up, he’s coming. ”I stumbled and a man grabbed me, pulled me and said,“ Let’s go. ”He hit me. A bar stool in my head while someone was throwing it at the window. “
Dean said up to 16 people were injured in the frantic escape attempt. One of these may have been shot.
According to its website, The Borderline is having a College Country Night on Wednesday. The event runs from 9pm until 2am and people 18 and over can attend – the drinking age is 21 in California.
Pepperdine University, a private college located about 20 miles southwest of Borderline, said that “several students” were in the bar.
“The university is working to identify and support these students,” Pepperdine said on Twitter. “The university offers its deepest condolences and calls to all participants in the events of the tragic night.”
At a news conference in Thousand Oaks, Paul Delacourt, assistant director of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles, said there was no known motive at this time and said agents were searching the shooter’s car, home address and location, as well as searching for digital evidence.
He said that the FBI was “working to identify any potential motive, to paint a picture of any extremism or any partners. At this stage, we have no indications of any partners.”
He will not be attracted by the type of weapon used, the high-capacity illegal magazine reports, or the mental health of the shooter.
Asked how the scene compared to previous mass shootings he attended – including the mass shooting in San Bernardino in 2015, Delacourt said: “Each scene is horrible in its own way. It’s all tragic.