Twelve people were killed by a hooded gunman at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country dance bar in Thousand Oaks, California on Wednesday night. That number includes the first officer in the door, Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus. Politico reports that hundreds fled the scene, using bar stools to break windows and escape. Many sustained injuries. The gunman is also dead, though authorities have yet to reveal how he died, his name or motive.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean held a news conference in the parking lot of the bar, telling the press: “It’s a horrific scene in there. There’s blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that, and I didn’t want to get that close and disturb the scene and possibly disturb the investigation.”
According to CNN, there were hundreds inside the bar at the time of the shooting. An eyewitness, Holden Harrah, told the outlet, “I’ve been coming there for about six months. (It’s) just a place you go to hang out with friends, just have fun as young adults. A gentleman, who walked in through the front door, shot the girl that was right behind the counter.”
A promoter for the Borderline Bar & Grill, Taylor von Molt, told CNN she mistook the gunfire for balloons popping. “... [I]t’s a country bar so we were line dancing... and I heard what I thought was a balloon pop,” she said. “I was confused because we didn’t have any balloons at the time... I turned around and saw him fire his weapon a couple of times and I ran to the nearest exit and tripped and fell on the way.”
This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 children and teachers were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day this year.
The President tweeted that he has “been fully briefed” on the shooting around 7:38 a.m. this morning:
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Update, 10:27 a.m.: According to AP, the Thousand Oaks shooter has been identified as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old man armed with a single handgun. He was found dead on the scene. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean believes Long died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Dean says his department had several previous contacts with the former Marine including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him acting irate and irrationally.
The sheriff says a mental health crisis team was called at that time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody.
Dean says the other prior encounters were a traffic accident and an incident when he was the victim of a battery at a bar.
Update, 11:40 a.m.: CBS News reports that a large group of people who narrowly escaped the Thousand Oaks shooting were also present at the Las Vegas Route 91 shooting in October 2017. One survivor of both attacks, Nicholas Champion, told the outlet, “It’s the second time in about a year and a month that this has happened. It’s a big thing for us. We’re all a big family and unfortunately this family got hit twice.”
Update, 3:15 p.m.: Alaina Housley, the niece of The Real host Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband, former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, has been identified as one of the 12 people killed in the Thousand Oaks shooting, NBC reports. “Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks,” the couple said in a joint statement. “Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner.”