A bar in Thousand Oaks, California that had about 100 people, among them college students, turned into a site of terror late Wednesday after a gunman opened fire on patrons, killing 12 individuals, 11 of whom were patrons and a sheriff’s deputy being the 12th person, according to multiple reports from U.S. mainland outlets, including The New York Times.
The gunman, police said, was dead before officers arrived on the scene. It was not clear if the man had taken his life, nor was it clear whether the event was linked to a terrorism organization.
The Ventura County sheriff, Geoff Dean, said there were “multiple other victims of different levels of injuries.” The sheriff identified the slain sheriff’s deputy as Ron Helus.
“It’s your worst nightmare,” said Brenden Kelly, 22, who was in the club Wednesday night when shots were fired, according to The Times. “It’s terrible.”
The rampage began late Wednesday at the popular music venue in Thousand Oaks. “There were shots fired at the Borderline Bar and Grill” at 11:20 p.m., said Capt. Garo Kuredjian, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. “As deputies responded, they also heard shots.” Additional units from the California Highway Patrol, Simi Valley and the F.B.I. responded, he said.
Captain Kuredjian said at the time of the shooting about 100 people had been inside the bar, which was filled with young people who turned out for a college country music night, according to The Times. The bar is not far from Pepperdine University, which said in a statement that it had received reports that several students were at the bar when the shooting occurred. Borderline’s website says that for a quarter century, it “has stood as the Ventura County’s largest country dance hall and live music venue,” with more than 2,500 square feet of open dance space.