12 killed, gunman dead in mass shooting at California bar - KXXV Central Texas News Now

12 killed, gunman dead in mass shooting at California bar

A group carries and runs with a person amid the chaos of a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA. (Source: RMG News/CNN) A group carries and runs with a person amid the chaos of a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA. (Source: RMG News/CNN)
People comfort each other as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on "college night." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) People comfort each other as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on "college night." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Sgt. Ron Helus (Source: Family of Ron Helus) Sgt. Ron Helus (Source: Family of Ron Helus)

THOUSAND OAKS, CA (RNN) - Less than two weeks after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11, another mass shooting has taken a dozen lives in California.

Once again, President Donald Trump has ordered flags at half-staff “in a mark of solemn respect.”

A gunman killed 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, and injured multiple others when he opened fire at a busy bar during a college night.

The shooting happened around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday local time at the Borderline Bar & Grill. Witnesses report at least 30 shots were fired, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 28-year-old Ian David Long. Authorities said he deployed a smoke device and used a Glock.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean says the suspected gunman died at the scene from what they believe is a self-inflicted wound.

Dean said the suspect had an extended magazine for his gun, and it was not clear whether he reloaded during the attack. The suspect was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served from 2008 to 2013.

In a news conference, Dean said 12 victims were killed, including Ron Helus, a sergeant from his department who was one of the first responders to the scene.

The alleged shooter’s motive is unknown at this time, Dean said.

Police had multiple run-ins with Long in the past, Dean said. They responded to a call at a house in April where the suspect was acting irrationally.

“They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists who met with him, talked to him and cleared him,” the sheriff said. “(They) didn’t feel he was qualified to be taken under 5150. And he was left at that scene last April.”

A “5150” is a code in California law stating a person is a danger to themselves or others because of a mental health issue.

In a news conference, Dean said 12 victims were killed, including Ron Helus, a sergeant from his department who was one of the first responders to the scene.

Dean said there had been six off-duty police officers from different departments in the bar at the time.

Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force, looking to retire in the next year. He is survived by his wife and son.

“Losing Ron, we go to the gym together and work out together," Dean said. “There’s no way to describe this. It saddens us all and tears at our emotions. He died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people."

Multiple other victims with different levels of injury have been confirmed. Dean said there was “blood everywhere” inside the bar.

The sheriff says he doesn’t remember the city having another mass shooting in his time on the force.

“I’ve been a cop for 41 years, and I never thought I’d see the things we’ve seen around the country," Dean said.

Authorities say they found a handgun at the scene. They are still searching and investigating.

Deputies say many people fled the bar after shots rang out. Hundreds are believed to have been inside at the time of the incident, according to Capt. Garo Kuredjian with the sheriff’s office.

Authorities say they don’t know if there is a terrorism link to the shooting.

Federal authorities also responded to the scene, including agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The bar has a college night on Wednesdays for ages 18 and up, according to its website.

Thousand Oaks is a suburb of Los Angeles, located about 40 miles northwest of downtown.

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