Police Officer Among 13 Dead In Bar Shooting In Thousand Oaks, California

Blanche Robertson
November 8, 2018

Police cars are seen outside a country music bar and dance hall in Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles, after a gunman barged into a large, crowded venue and opened fire late November 7, 2018, killing at least 11 people, U.S. police said. Authorities found him dead inside an office adjacent to the bar's entryway, Dean said.

"It's a horrific scene in there".

Sheriff Geoff Dean, who choked back tears while talking about Helus, said his friend had been talking to his wife when the shooting call came in.

Ron Helus, a Ventura County sheriff's sergeant, was killed in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday night.

Witnesses described a tall man, wearing all black with a hood covering part of his face, entering the bar shortly before midnight.

Law enforcement has not confirmed witness reports that Long set off smoke bombs at the bar.

He said the gunman had apparently shot himself.

"I heard it a couple more times, and I turned around and I saw him (the gunman)", she said.

"I look up - the security guard is dead".

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Once safely outside, those who were uninjured hugged and cried, traumatized and anxious about the others still inside. John was inside the bar near the front door with his stepdad.

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

"I'm afraid that Cody ran to the gunman instead of away from the gunman. A lot of them do live nearby in Thousand Oaks so a lot of them did get to a students house", she added.

"He was just a great guy, a gentle soul", he said.

Authorities were still working to identify the victims and inform their families.

When the shots started, some people smashed windows with chairs to escape, witnesses told CNN. "For no reason at all". The only person to be identified as of yet is police hero Sergeant Ron Helus, 54, who was the first on the scene, which means many families are waiting for information on the status of their loved ones. Helus was among the first responders and was shot while entering the building where the shooting was taking place. "I don't know the condition of the victims but my understanding is there are a number (of) wounded included a local deputy ... all of the victims have been transported to hospitals", Fox told CNN on the phone.

"He was totally committed". He gave his all.

Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears. Authorities said he was about a year from retirement.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was checking to see if any Israelis were among the victims.

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