THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF. — A gunman opened fire at a Southern California bar late on Wednesday night. The sheriff says at least 13 people were killed, including a sheriff’s sergeant and the gunman.
The shooter has been identified as Ian David Long, 28, a Marine Corps veteran who was known to authorities.
Officials say Long walked into the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks and began opening fire, initially targeting a security guard. Witnesses say he was dressed in black and and used at least one smoke bomb during the incident.
Long fired multiple rounds from a Glock 21 – .45 caliber, killing 11 people before being engaged by Sgt. Ron Helus. It was unclear if the suspect killed himself or was taken down by Sgt. Helus.
“There’s no doubt that him going in, the highway patrol officer going in, helped neutralize whatever threat was going on,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told CBS News. The sheriff said Helus was a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.
“He was my gym buddy,” Dean said. “We worked out together. He was a father, a husband, and he died tonight going in to try to save others and made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Video obtained by the Associated Press shows a tense scene with gunshots heard.
“We don’t have any other details to confirm an exact chronology about what happened. We’ll provide that to you as we bring all our witness statements together and we feel more comfortable about talking about that,” Dean said. “We have no idea what the motive was at this point.”
Taylor Whittler, who was present when the gunman carried out his rampage Wednesday, describes the horrific scene, saying, “It doesn’t feel real.” “Thinking, ‘This could never happen to me’ – then it happens.”
I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar….
….Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.
We are awaiting another press conference from authorities. Watch live coverage below.