Authorities out of Southern California have confirmed multiple fatalities resulting from an active shooting that took place during a college night event that was being hosted at a Thousand Oaks bar.
The Washington Post reports that at least 12 people are dead, including 11 victims and the shooter – who turned the gun on himself after opening fire inside of the Borderline Bar and Grill late Wednesday night, November 7. In addition to the dozen lives that were lost, multiple others were hospitalized with various degrees of injury.
According to the Independent, chaos ensued when at around 11:20 p.m. a gunman wearing a trenchcoat and a mask shot a security guard manning the door and proceeded to throw smoke grenades inside of the Rolling Oaks Dr. establishment. There had been upwards of 200 people in attendance for a country music and dance function that was scheduled to run between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Witnesses have attested to hearing at least 30 shots ring out as panicked patrons smashed windows seeking a means of egress and scrambled to find places where they might be able to hide for safety.
“I heard the gunshot, turned around and saw him shoot a couple more times. Within a split second, everyone yelled ‘get down.’ I ran to where the back door is, and everyone dog-piled on top of each other. It was silent for a couple of seconds and then all of a sudden a couple of guys started running to the back door and said ‘get up he’s coming,'” 19-year-old Teylor Whittler is quoted as saying while sharing her account of the events that unraveled.
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“It was a huge panic, everyone tried getting up, and some guy came behind me, lifted me up and said ‘let’s go’. I got a bar stool thrown at my head because they were trying to use it to get out,” Whittler said.
One of the individuals killed in the attack was 29-year-veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ron Helus, according to CNN. Helus was among the earliest responders to arrive inside of the bar and was followed by a SWAT team that eventually helped to secure the scene and declare no further threat after scouting out the surrounding area. The suspect is believed to have taken his own life by the time they showed up in full force.
The weapon used in the terror is described to have been an Uzi-style submachine gun. Authorities have not released the suspect’s name to the public and an investigation into any possible motives is ongoing.