A gunman is said to have opened fire at a college night at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, part of the Greater Los Angeles area in California
Twelve people have been killed after a gunman opened fire in a bar and restaurant in California that was packed with teenagers.
Terrified people inside Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks hid under tables or dived out windows during the shooting which happened on a college night at roughly 11.20pm on Wednesday.
Sergeant Ron Helus was shot by the the trenchcoat-wearing gunman, who was armed with a semi-automatic weapon, and died at a nearby hospital.
He was a 29-year veteran of the force and planned to retire next year.
The gunman, dressed in black, was shot and killed inside the bar. American media have said he was a 29-year-old man using a legally-owned .45 calibre handgun.
One witness told ABC7 that the gunman walked up to a security guard and shot him before entering the restaurant and opening fire at random.
He also threw smoke grenades around the dance floor area which was said to be ‘very crowded’. Police have not confirmed the use of smoke devices.
Between 10 to 20 people are also injured, on top of the 12 killed (not including the gunman).
Ventura Country deputy Geoff Dean said of his dead colleague: “He died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people.”
He added that he had no reason to believe that there was a link to terrorism, “but we certainly will look at that option.”
A man being interviewed by local ABC station said he had multiple friends at Borderline who are survivors of the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas just over a year ago.
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “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.
“Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times.
“That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”
A father of someone believed to be in attendance at Borderline Bar during mass shooting tells KTLA-TV his daughter’s Apple Watch is still pinging her location as inside the bar.
As officers were responding there were additional reports of gunfire. At least 100 people were at the venue last night.
Mitchell Hunter, 19, was pictured near the scene with bloodied hands after he broke a chair with a window when he heard shots on the dancefloor.
One witness said: “I saw one person shot. It was a hand gun but the guy was throwing smoke grenades.”
He added: “People are hitting the deck, running getting out of any window they could.
“I was one of three people who got out the front door and I don’t know how we got out the front door.”
Some revellers who had hid in the attic to get away from the rampaging gunman have made themselves known to police with the scene now secure.
Another witness inside said: “The gunman walked in and had like a sub machine gun with a big ass magazine. He started popping off and everyone ducked down.
“He started throwing smoke grenades. People just started jumping out of windows.
“My friend got hit. It went through his shoulder.
“We were behind a barrier and then he popped off another 30 rounds. The cops came and dragged everyone out.
“He had black hair and a black trenchcoat.”