Former US Marine kills at least 12 in shooting at California bar

Blanche Robertson
November 9, 2018

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Thursday to honor fallen Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus, who was killed while responding to a mass shooting at a bar overnight.

Witnesses say the suspect was dressed in all black, and forced his way into the bar after first shooting the bouncer.

He served in the war in Afghanistan for seven months beginning in late 2010, the Marine Corp said, and was awarded multiple ribbons, commendations and medals. He was later found dead at or near an office in the business.

The body of the slain sheriff's officer was taken by motorcade from the hospital to the coroner's office yesterday.

Dean said police had previous run-ins with Long, including a call to his home where he was acting irrationally.

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.

The FBI was carefully examining Thursday the auto and home of the gunman who killed 12 people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The Los Angeles Times quoted a law enforcement official as saying at least 30 shots had been fired and that there were casualties.

"He went in to make it so that other people are OK, you know". The city of about 130,000 people is consistently near the top of lists ranking the safest places in California.

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Survivors described moments of panic and heroism.

"I grew up in this community, went to school in this community, so I kind of felt the obligation to get out here and do what I could", Lacombe said. Newsom said he supports people's right to bear arms, but he is concerned about gun violence and thinks California should lead the way on gun controls.

Erika Sigman, 19, was another witness.

'That's how we were able to get out, ' she said with her face in her hands.

"My Son is home, well sort of, back in Hawaii, soon to be in Cali come January, hooray!" she wrote on December 14, 2012. He said he had an army of friends and families on alert, making calls, and watching the news looking out for his son. Its website listed events planned for this week, and Wednesday was "College Country" night between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

A neighbour, who would only identify himself by his last name, Hanson, said Long lived with his mother.

At an earlier news conference Sheriff Dean's voice cracked as he spoke about Sgt. Helus, "He went in to save lives". Armed with a knife in case an attacker came in, he hunkered down and waited with 40 other people for four hours. A 29-year veteran of the force, he had been looking to retire in the "next year or so", Dean said.

- Sheriff Dean said that Long was the victim in a January 2015 fight at a different bar in Thousand Oaks. Dean told reporters that there was no indication the suspect was targeting bar employees.

Kuredjian said at around 0915 GMT (5pm Singapore time) that the shooter was still confined inside the premises, adding that he did not know if he had been subdued or shot. The bar is near the campus.

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