Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Gunman kills 12 at crowded country and western bar in California

Gunman kills 12 at crowded country and western bar in California

Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, the first officer to enter the Borderline Bar & Grill, was met by deadly gunfire, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said during a news conference.

On Wednesday night, students gathered for college country night held between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to the bar's website.

Authorities said the suspect has been shot dead.

The gunman's identity has not yet been released.

The suspect has been described as a Middle Eastern man in his early 20s wearing all black clothing and with a beard.

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The venue in a quiet, upscale residential suburb was hosting an event for college students, with possibly several hundred young people in attendance, Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's office said.

People were hiding from the shooter in bathrooms and attic spaces, while others who managed to escape fled to nearby gas stations for medical help, reports claim.

"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant", Dean said, according to KABC. He is survived by his wife and son. "He gave his all and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people", Dean added.

Dean said the suspect had an extended magazine for his gun, and it was not clear whether he reloaded during the attack. The identities of the other victims have not been released at this time.

A witness who was inside the bar during the shooting said she heard "very, very loud gunshots".

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"I mind my own business and they did theirs too", he said in a brief telephone interview. "But I've learned, it doesn't matter what community you're in, it doesn't matter how safe your community is".

There was no screaming, she said. Well, I don't want to say he was dead, but he was shot.

Another witness said: "This maniac came in". "There's people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there's people that have seen it twice".

An injured man told local television channel KTLA: "We just dropped to the ground, we heard a lot of screaming". They carried us and then I reunited with my friends, and I was lucky to get out.

Cole Knapp, a freshman at Moorpark, said he was inside the bar when the shooting began, but thought at first that it was "just someone with an M-80, just kind of playing a prank". A reunification area has been established at Thousand Oaks Teen Center, located at 1375 E. Janss Rd. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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