Late Wednesday, a gunman opened fire in a crowded country-music bar and killed 12 people. The gunman was later found dead inside by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
The Borderline Bar & Grill is a popular line-dancing spot in Thousand Oaks, California. Last night was “College Country Night.” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters: “It’s a horrific scene in there. There’s blood everywhere. The suspect is a part of that.” The shooter has not been identified. (h/t Washington Post)
After the gunman opened fire in the bar, Ron Helus, a veteran sergeant with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was the first to respond to local 911 calls. He was killed by the shooter. Helus was a 29-year veteran on the force and The Washington Post reports he was expected to retire soon. He had a wife and son. Dean said: “He died a hero. He went in to save lives.”
Not much is known at this time about the attacker, just that he’s a white male who either used an extended clip for his handgun or reloaded at least once. Investigators are still working to determine a motive.
Eyewitnesses to the scene described the rush to escape the shooter. People threw stools and chairs to break windows and avoid clogged exits. They hid in bathrooms. One man pulled down a ladder to an attic and motioned for people to follow.
Teylor Whittler, 19, was inside the bar during the shooting spree. “It was sheer panic,” she told The Washington Post. “Everyone ran and dropped as fast as they could.”
There were more than 100 people inside the bar when the first shots rang out. Many of those individuals were college-aged students. The Borderline Bar is within 20 miles of Pepperdine University, Cal State University at Channel Islands, Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College.