A law enforcement officer sits outside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, USA, on Nov. 8, 2018, the site of a mass murder the night before. A sheriff’s deputy, 12 attendees and the gunmen were killed. EPA-EFE/MIKE NELSON
Los Angeles, Nov 8 (efe-epa).- At least 13 people, including a responding police officer, died in a shooting at a Southern California country music bar that was hosting a university student night.
The suspect – whom local media, citing police, identified as 29-year-old David Ian Long – also died. It is unclear if he was shot and killed or took his own life.
The suspect started shooting inside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California – about 55 kilometers (34 miles) west of Los Angeles – at around 11.20 pm Wednesday night when hundreds of people were inside.
Witnesses told local media that the man, who was heavily tattooed and dressed in black, fired indiscriminately.
At least 12 other people were injured, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, who said his “number two,” Sgt. Ron Helus, was among those killed late Wednesday night.
Helus had been with the force for 29 years and had intended to retire in the coming year.
Dean, who said authorities cannot yet say if there was a terrorism link or not, told reporters that most of the people inside the establishment were between the ages of 19 and 26.
One witness said the shooting touched off a panic inside the bar and that some people tried to escape through the windows.
Others said the shooter was armed with a semi-automatic weapon and shot a bouncer and a cashier upon arriving at the establishment.
The attacker also apparently threw smoke grenades while firing dozens of gunshots. When a SWAT team arrived, the suspect was already dead.
Among those inside the bar on Wednesday night were a number of students from nearby Pepperdine University.
Thousand Oaks consistently ranks as one of the safest cities in the US.
The president of the United States on Thursday hailed police officers’ bravery in confronting the gunman.
“Great bravery shown by police,” Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. “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.”