A gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a southern California Country Western restaurant and dance hall, killing 12, including a deputy sheriff.
It was college night at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, about 40 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, and some were taking part in the Wednesday night dance lesson, learning the country two-step, when the gunman began shooting around 11:30.
He was still firing when deputy sheriffs arrived. Some reports said he fired some 30 bullets at the crowd.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean later reported that Sgt. Ron Helus was short as he entered the restaurant. He succumbed to his wounds a short while later at the hospital.
“We’re still looking for the shooter,” Ventura County Sheriff Department spokesman Capt. Garo Kuredjian initially told reporters at the scene. “I can’t tell you what the status of any of those that were shot is at the point.” It was later reported that the gunman was dead though it was not clear how he died.
According to the report, Nick Steinwender, head of nearby California Lutheran University’s student body, rushed to the scene, knowing that students from the university had joined in the college night festivities.
“It was chaos – people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out,” he told KABC-TV. “Students were hiding in the attics, bathrooms and stuff like that.”