Ian David Long, 28, was found dead in the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday after killing 12 people in a tragic shooting.
According to police, hundreds of people attempted to flee the bar after the former U.S. Marine Corps veteran entered the establishment and began shooting towards security, bar staff, and patrons of the bar.
The event took place at around 11:20 PM Wednesday night. Police say that the bar was filled with hundreds of people at the time. Once the shots started firing, patrons frantically grabbed bar stools to break windows in an effort to escape.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” says Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean in a news conference Thursday morning. “There’s blood everywhere.”
Dean says that many people hid in bathrooms and the bar’s attic while waiting for police to arrive. He adds that around ten people were taken to nearby hospitals for their injuries. Among the people that were killed, Dean’s colleague, Sgt. Ron Helus was shot multiple times as he entered the building.
Today we mourn the loss of Sergeant Ron Helus who gave his life serving the community. Please keep his family and the families of the victims in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/EwDsnPRDCs
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) November 8, 2018
Police say Long used a legally owned .45 calibre Glock semi-automatic handgun, however, he also had an extended magazine that is illegal in California. It’s unclear how many shots went off that night.
“It’s a gun culture. It’s a culture, and it’s not about being Democrat or Republican,” says Democratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. “You can’t go to a bar or nightclub? You can’t go to church or synagogue? It’s insane is the only way to describe it … It’s become normalized.”
19-year-old college student Cole Knap was in the bar when the tragedy went down.
“I was just with friends and I saw the shooter walk in, and he reached up to the counter like he was going to put an ID or some money up on the counter to pay his cover charge,” said Knapp. “And I just kind of saw it in the corner of my eye and I heard a gunshot, and I focused on him and I saw that he was holding a handgun and he continued to shoot at the girl at the front desk.”
Another witness says that people were trampling each other in an effort to get out.
“It was really, really, really shocking,” says 19-year-old Tayler Whitler in an interview with KABC-TV. “It looked like he knew what he was doing.”
I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump made a statement, praising officers for their “great bravery.” To honour the victims of the shooting, he ordered that flags be flown at half-mast at the White House and public buildings in the U.S., as well as at overseas diplomatic and military sites until Saturday evening.
Dean said the motive is unclear. There is currently nothing that would lead him to believe terrorism was the motive, but it has not been ruled out.
“I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what community you’re in. It doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere.” – Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean