At least 13 killed in California bar shooting including gunman

Mass shooting at bar in Thousand Oaks CA dozens reportedly injured incl police officer

Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office was hit by gunfire as he entered the bar to help. Because it was the bars' weekly College Country Night, many of Ian's victims were students of Pepperdine University.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean spoke up about the fallen sergeant who gave his life trying to stop the shooter.

Nick Steinwender, student body president at nearby California Lutheran University, rushed to the scene when he heard about a shooting at the bar where he knew friends and fellow students were.

No other victims were identified.

A California community is mourning a "hero" officer who was one of the 12 people killed in a mass shooting at a bar in Southern California Wednesday night.

According to the bar's website, a "College Country" night was going on at the time of the shooting.

When deputies arrived at the scene three minutes after the first 911 call, shots were still being fired, Dean said. The alleged perpetrator then threw smoke bombs into the bar and continued shooting.

"It was just aimless shooting in any direction, and he pointed and just started shooting at the crowd that I was in", Spady said.

When the shooting was over, 13 were dead, including the shooter who was found by responding officers.

Long was a decorated Marine Corp machine gunner deployed in Afghanistan who had several prior brushes with law enforcement, police and Marine officials said.

He joined the Marines in 2008 and rose to the rank of corporal before leaving active service in 2013, Marine spokesman Joseph Butterfield wrote in an email.

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Dean said investigators had not found any type of assault rifle within the bar. Mental health specialists talked to him and didn't feel he qualified to be detained under the state's "5150" mental health detention law, Dean said.

He was armed with a.45-caliber Glock 21 handgun that he had legally purchased in Simi Valley, as well as a "smoke device", he said.

He said the gunman had apparently shot himself.

"The fact that he was the first in the door doesn't surprise me at all, " sheriff's Sgt Eric Buschow said Thursday. He described Helus as a cop's cop.

Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office who was about to retire, is survived by his wife and his son.

"He reloaded and then just kept on popping them off", said Tim, John's stepdad. "He would go to the ends of the Earth to find a suspect".

Numerous patrons were local students from nearby California Lutheran University, ages 19 to 25, attending "College Country Night".

"Within a split second, everybody yelled 'get down, ' " she said.

People comfort each other outside the scene of a shooting, November 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, California.

The incident in California came two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people and injured seven at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while Shabbat morning services were being held. He said he had assumed Long must be getting treatment of some kind. "We'll provide that to you as we bring all our witness statements together and we feel more comfortable about talking about that", Dean said.

"That's a pretty challenging question", Sheriff Dean said. "So, I don't know, I'm just glad to be alive".

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