July 19, 2019
Thirteen die at Ventura County dance bar, gunman among dead
THOUSAND OAKS – (INT) - The nation’s latest mass shooting has claimed 13 lives in Southern California.

A gunman's rampage took the lives of 11 victims and a sheriff's sergeant late Wednesday in Thousand Oaks in a mass shooting that also left the gunman dead.

The gunman was identified as Ian David Long, 28, of Newbury Park. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said he'd had past encounters with authorities, including being involved in a minor traffic collision and being a battery victim at a bar. Sheriff Geoff Dean said the gunman used a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun.

Authorities got a report at about 11:20 p.m. that a man had opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country-western dance bar at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive. Officers at the scene said the gunman might have used smoke bombs in the incident, but authorities later said they could not confirm that.

Officers indicated that approximately 30 shots had been fired and that victims were fleeing from the bar into the surrounding neighborhood.

Among the first officers at the scene were sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer, according to Dean. Dean said Helus was stuck multiple times by bullets.

Helus died later at Los Robles Regional Medical Center, a choked-up Dean said at a news conference Thursday.

Dean said Long, who served in the Marines, had interactions with police including one in April at his Newbury Park home. Deputies were called on a report of subject disturbing, the sheriff said.

Dozens more officers were called to the scene, and the gunman was dead when they arrived. Dean said he didn't know how the gunman died.

Officers began escorting large groups of people to safety as they left the area.

Officers were also entering the bar and finding people who had hidden in out-of-the-way areas. People took shelter in restrooms and even crawl spaces in the attic, among other places, according to officers at the scene.

Besides those killed by the gunman, at least 10 to 12 people inside the bar suffered injuries, Dean said. He described many of those injuries as minor.

Some witnesses interviewed by TV news networks indicated that the gunman shot an employee at the door.

Eighteen people reportedly transported themselves to various local hospitals, and two were transported by ambulance, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff’s Sergeant Helus was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. He is survived by his wife and son.

Acting Governor Gavin Newsom ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff.

"This atrocious act and the many mass shootings that came before are beyond heartbreaking – they are societal failures. Simply saying 'enough is enough' isn't enough. We must address the root causes of these devastating acts at every level of government," Newsom said.

The Ventura County Star contributed to this report.
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