At least 12 people have been killed, including one law enforcement officer, and at least 10 others have been injured after a gunman opened fire in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.
According to a report from ABC News, law enforcement officer Sgt. Ron Helus was one of the first to respond to the incident where he ultimately lost his life. Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force and was about to retire, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said.
“Helus was one of the first on the scene and was struck multiple times when he went through the front door, the sheriff’s office said,” per the report.
Here’s more on the shooting, from Sheriff Geoff Dean:
The Borderline Bar and Grill, located just west of Los Angeles, reportedly held hundreds of people. ABC News reports the shooting unfolded just before midnight local time when a lone suspect threw what was described by witnesses as smoke bombs into the bar. He then opened fire into the stirred crowd before he was ultimately killed.
From the report:
Teylor Whittler was celebrating a friend’s birthday at the bar’s college night when she heard the gunshots.
“A bunch of people dog-piled on top of each other,” she told “Good Morning America.” “Everyone just yelled, ‘Run, he’s coming!'”
“There were at least 50 people that all tried getting up at once and running out the back door. I ended up getting caught in the ground and stumbled over by multiple people,” Whittler said. “I got hit in the head by a stool that was being picked up to throw through a window, until some guy came up behind me and grabbed me and said, ‘Get up, we have to go!'”
She said multiple men around her blocked the group with their bodies “ready to take a bullet for every single one of us.”
Another witness said she saw sparks and smoke emitting from a device believed to be a smoke bomb:
Whittler’s friend, Sarah Rose DeSon, told “GMA” she was hiding behind a table when she saw a spark and smoke.
Witnesses said they saw what appeared to be smoke grenades.
“As soon as we all saw that, we jumped up,” she said. “I ran out the front door, down some stairs, face-planted in the parking lot, but I was lucky enough to get out alive.”
President Trump took to Twitter to say he was informed of the situation and he thanked law enforcement for their “great bravery.”
“I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California,” Trump said in a tweet. “Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar.” (The 13 number of dead appears to be the 12 victims and the shooter).
“Great bravery shown by police,” the president added. “California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.