12, including officer, killed in mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks


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``VCSTAR-

A gunman’s rampage claimed 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.

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.

A gunman’s rampage claimed 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.

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 Ventura County Sheriff Geoff 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 early Thursday.

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.

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

A family reunification center was set up at 1375 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks, and a victim information hotline was established at 805-465-6650.

Roadways were blocked in the area as the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office was joined at the scene by officers with the California Highway Patrol, FBI, Simi Valley Police Department, Oxnard Police Department and Ventura Police Department, as well as at least one team from Los Angeles County.

As bystanders gathered nearby soon after the incident, deputies yelled at them to stay away.

“Active shooter! Get back!” a deputy yelled.

A police helicopter swirled overhead and officers surrounded the area with cars, with crews using a shopping center parking lot several blocks away as a base of operations.

Officers were advised soon after the gunfire broke out that the gunman was in his early 20s wearing all black clothing and with a beard. Some witnesses interviewed by TV news networks said he wore glasses and wore a trench coat. Some indicated that he shot an employee at the door. They gave conflicting information about his facial hair.

Helus, a Moorpark resident, was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office who leaves behind a wife and son.

Dean said Helus “was a hard-working, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant … who died a hero,” was “totally committed” and “gave his all.”

“He went in to save lives — to save other people,” Dean said.

The sheriff said Helus was due to retire soon.

It was college night at the bar, which is not far from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, Pepperdine University in Malibu and Moorpark College in Moorpark.

A young man in his 20s said he was in the bar when the shooter walked in and started shooting people. The young man wouldn’t give his name.

“It was all blink of the eye …” he said. “Guy with a semi-automatic handgun just walked in the front and started popping rounds off at people. It wasn’t really random. He was shooting people up close.




“So I ran to the back. A bunch of people did. I hid under a pool table. A lot of people went out the side exit.”

Also giving an account of what happened was a young woman in her early 20s who also wouldn’t give her name:

“All of a sudden, you just hear, bang bang, bang, bang, bang,” she said. “And it kind of paused for a second and everybody kind of just like stopped, cause it was like, ‘What?’ The music was still going. And then it just started going bang, bang, bang, bang, bang and everybody ducked down and started running. I got trampled on. It was chaos.

“We ended up getting chairs and breaking windows with them because there was no exit we could get out of.”

She said that although it was college night, the bar wasn’t as full as it often is.

“Usually, it’s a lot more packed than it was tonight,” she said.

The Borderline Bar & Grill originally opened in Malibu in the 1980s, but moved to Thousand Oaks in 1993, according to its website.

The bar is described as the county’s “Largest Country Dance Hall & Live Music Venue” and boasts of 2,500 square feet of open dance floor.

Borderline also has pool tables, games and flat-screen TVs, the website said.

The venue is open until 2 a.m., five nights a week.

This article will be updated.

Story from vcstar.com

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