At least thirteen people, including a sheriff’s deputy, were killed late Wednesday night in a mass shooting at a California bar and grill.
The gunshots were reported around 11:20 p.m. at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian held a news conference and said, “I can’t tell you much about the shooter at this point. We are still looking for the shooter. We can’t confirm the shooter is in custody at this point.”
According to eyewitness reporters after the calls came in and deputies arrived on the scene shots were still being fired. The first deputy to arrive on the scene was hit by multiple bullets, and the sheriff’s office later confirmed that his sergeant had died from his gunshot wounds.
They also identified the deceased deputy as Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. Helus was a father of one who was set to retire next year.
The gunman, who opened fire without warning, was found dead inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, authorities said. The venue was filled with young people for ‘College Country Night.”
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said he had no reason to believe that there was a link to terrorism, “but we certainly will look at that option.” The only weapon recovered by early Thursday was a handgun, he said.
“It’s a horrific incident,” Dean told reporters. “It’s part of the horrors that are happening in our country and everywhere, and I think it’s impossible to put any logic or any sense to the senseless.”
Borderline is a western-style bar and grill that regularly hosts a college night between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. and is located not far from California Lutheran University.
“It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out,” said student Nick Steinwender. “From what I heard, the gunman started shooting at the front desk … Students were hiding in the attics, bathrooms and stuff like that.”