California bar shooting victims include police officer, aspiring Army service member

Howard TerryNov 09, 2018

Ventura County Geoff Dean addresses the media about the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 8, 2018.

The sheriff of Ventura County, California is describing what happened late Wednesday night when a gunman killed 12 people at a bar.

Witnesses said that the gunman, who was wearing a black trenchcoat, throw several smoke grenades inside the Borderline Bar and Grill before he started he shooting at around 11:20pm on Wednesday night.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said at a news conference early Thursday that a sheriff's deputy was also shot and taken to a hospital.

Authorities found the gunman dead inside an office adjacent to the bar's entryway, Dean said.

"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant who was totally committed", Dean said, "and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives".

"If you were a victim of a crime, you want him investigating the case", Buschow said.

Thousand Oaks is a city of about 130,000 people about 64 kilometers west of Los Angeles, just across the county line.

He said he and others smashed their way out of the bar onto a balcony and then jumped down to safety.

Twelve people were killed, including Helus.

On Wednesday, they endured another, as 12 people were killed by shooter Ian David Long in California.

"I was at the Las Vegas Route 91 mass shooting, it's a big thing for us, we're all a big family and unfortunately this family got hit twice", said Nicholas Champion.

Katie Ray agreed, saying the Borderline bar was a "place of healing" for the group after the Las Vegas shooting.

Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears.

"When the officers went in and made re-entry, they found him already deceased", Dean said, according to ABC 6. Neighbors told local news channel ABC6 that Long lived with his mother, who had expressed concern over her son's behavior.

The family of Justin Meek said the 23-year-old died in the shooting, California Lutheran University said Thursday.

Sergeant Helus and another officer from the Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the massacre at 11.23pm last night - three minutes after the 911 call went out. She said she hid with a group of strangers and they were holding hands.

Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was on the dance floor with her friends nearby when she saw the gunman shooting and heard screams to "get down". The injured included a deputy, Kuredjian said.

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