THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Thirteen people including a sheriff’s deputy and the gunman were killed in a shooting in a crowded bar here late Wednesday night, reports CBS Los Angeles. The gunman was found dead inside, authorities said. He had gunshot wounds but t it wasn’t known who shot him.
The station said one person was seen — apparently lifeless — on the ground outside the bar’s entrance.
Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Borderline Bar and Grill, some 40 miles west of L.A., at about 11:20 p.m.
Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters early Thursday the deputy died at a hospital. He was identified as Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran a year away from retiring. His voice cracking, Dean described Helus as a friend.
Dean said, “It’s a horrific scene in there. There’s blood everywhere.”
Dean added that the gunman’s motive wasn’t known and it wasn’t clear if it was a case of terrorism.
In addition to those who died, other injured or wounded patrons were brought to hospitals or went to them on their own.
Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian said deputies could hear gunfire when they arrived.
There were hundreds of people in the bar when the attack began, police said. Witnesses said the gun was apparently a semi-automatic weapon.
The gunman threw smoke bombs when he entered, perhaps to cause confusion, CBS L.A. reported. Witnesses told the station some people broke windows in order to get out.
The father of one patron told CBS L.A. his daughter told him the gunman “knew what he was doing” and came in “with a purpose.”
A witness told the station, “There were people in the middle dancing and just hanging out and having a good time” when “very, very loud gunshots” rang out inside.
Numerous law enforcement agencies were on-scene, including the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. National Guard members were assisting, as well.
Patrons were seen being led out of the bar by deputies.
The bar’s website, a “College Country” night was going on at the time of the shooting.
This is a breaking news report. More information will be provided as it becomes available.