Americas

At least 13 – including police officer and attacker – dead following shooting at California bar

At least 12 people – including a police officer – were killed in a shooting at a crowded Southern California bar, police in the US have said.

The gunman who carried out the mass shooting is also dead, bringing the fatality total to 13.

Authorities have identified the shooter and the handgun he used in the to kill 12 people.

An official said the man was 29 years old and deployed a smoke device and used a .45-calibre handgun when he opened fire inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.

The official declined to provide any other detail.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11.20pm local time at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building.

He died at a hospital early on Thursday but authorities did not say how the gunman died.

Mr Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, who choked back tears several times as he talked about the sergeant who was also his long-time friend.

“Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant who was totally committed,” Mr Dean said.

“And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives.”

Mr Dean said around 10 other people were shot and wounded.

The bar’s website says it hosts College Country Night every Wednesday.

Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.

Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was inside the bar when a man walked in with his face partly covered by something resembling a ski mask, opened fire on a person working on the door, then began to shoot people at random.

“It was really, really, really shocking,” she told KABC-TV as she stood with her father in the Borderline car park.

“It looked like he knew what he was doing.”

US President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he has been “fully briefed on the terrible shooting”.

He praised law enforcement, saying “Great bravery shown by police” and said “God bless all of the victims and families of the victims”.

It has been “quite some time” since there was a shooting of any kind in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people around 40 miles (65km) west of Los Angeles.

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.

“It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, people hopping over gates to get out” Mr Steinwender told KABC.

He said he heard from people inside that they were hiding in toilets and the attic of the bar.

More to follow


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