At least 12 people were killed and at least 10 others were injured when a gunman burst into a packed Southern California bar, tossing smoke grenades and firing dozens of rounds, witnesses and authorities said on Wednesday.
The suspect was found dead inside the bar, police said. Authorities are working to determine who he is and what his motive may have been.
Sgt. Ron Helus was among the dozen killed overnight, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
Helus, a 29-year veteran, was one of the first on the scene and was fired on multiple times.
Police said they responded to the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles, just before midnight local time.
Hundreds were inside the bar at the time.
“The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place,” John Hedge told ABC Los Angeles station KABC. “I saw him point to the back of the cash register and he just kept firing. I ran out the front door.”
“I hear chairs being thrown out the window — people were trying to get out of the window,” Hedge said. “I don’t know how I didn’t get shot.”
Initial reports from officers said about 30 shots were fired.
The Borderline Bar and Grill is a country-themed bar known for its large dance floor and live music events, according to its website.
“With over 2,500 square feet of wide open dance floor, Borderline has provided a haven for country line dancing folks of all ages equipped with pool tables,” the website said. “Over the years, Borderline has hosted many legendary performances such as The Beach Boys, John Rich, Collin Raye, Mark Chesnutt, Lee Brice, Adam Carolla & Tyler Farr to name a few.”
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