America Bleeds Again: 12 Killed As Gunman Opens Fire At Bar In California (Photos, Video)

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Police have said that twelve people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a crowded bar in southern California on Thursday morning.

According to The Guardian, a sheriff’s deputy is among the dead. The Ventura county Sheriff’s department said the gunman was found dead inside the bar.

Hundreds of people were at the Borderline Bar and Grill, in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles, on Wednesday night when the shooter entered and opened fire.

Witnesses reported using barstools to break windows in a desperate attempt to escape, and Ventura county sheriff Geoff Dean described a traumatic scene.

“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said at a news conference in the parking lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill.

“There’s blood everywhere.”

Dean said officers had not yet determined whether the gunman took his own life.

Donald Trump tweeted that he had been “fully briefed” on the shooting, and praised the “great bravery shown by police”.

The shooter entered the country and western bar, which was holding a “College Country Night”, dressed in all black with his face partly covered, witnesses told TV crews at the scene.

The man who was described as tall, with his head covered with a hood, first fired at a person working on the door of the Borderline before shooting people inside.

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Dean said sheriffs responded to 911 calls at about 11.20pm. Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, entered the bar with a highway patrolman after hearing gunshots. Dean said Helus was shot several times before being pulled out of the bar by the highway patrolman, who has not been named, and taken to a nearby hospital.

Helus, who had planned to retire in the next year, died early Thursday morning, Dean said.

“It saddens us all and tears at our emotions. He died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people,” Dean said.

Witnesses described a scene of sheer panic inside the packed nightclub. They described an opening volley of shots and then a pause, during which club goers scrambled to escape, throwing bar stools through windows and running through the kitchen to get out.

Teylor Whittler, who was at the club, said after club goers heard shots “within a split second everyone yelled ‘get down’.

“I ran to the left of the dance floor and got down and everyone piled on top of each other,” she told CNN.

“It was silent for a couple of seconds and a couple of guys ran towards the back of the club and said ‘get up, he’s coming’.

“I stumbled and a guy grabbed me, pulled me up and said ‘let’s go’. A bar stool hit me in the head as someone was throwing it at a window.”

The LA Times reported that 10 other people may have been injured in the bar.

 

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