A gunman killed 12 people in a crowd dancing at a bar popular with college students in Thousand Oaks, California. Police reported Wednesday that the gunman was found dead at the scene. They have identified the suspected shooter as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine who once had police called to his home because he was acting “irate and irrationally,” according to the Associated Press.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the gunman began firing a handgun at the front of the Western-style Borderline Bar & Grill at around 11:20 Pacific Time on Wednesday night. Witnesses described the gunman as a tall white man clothed in all black, and they said it appeared he used smoke bombs to create more confusion. At least 10 others are thought to be injured as well.
At the time, people were line dancing during “College Country Night” at the bar. Several colleges, including Pepperdine University, California Lutheran University, and Moorpark College, are within driving distance of the bar. Pepperdine confirmed that some of its students were at the bar, according to CNN. Authorities have said there were more than 100 people inside the bar at the time of the shooting.
Witnesses described to reporters a frantic scene in which people used chairs to break windows and escape, while others hid in bathrooms and an attic.
Six minutes after the gunman began firing, a sheriff’s sergeant and a highway patrol officer arrived and were met with gunfire. Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ron Helus, who was planning to retire next year after 29 years on the job, was shot several times and died early Thursday morning, according to police. It wasn’t immediately clear how the suspected gunman died.
According to the LA Times, some of the people at the club Wednesday night were survivors of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last year that left 58 dead. That massacre, the deadliest in modern U.S. history, occurred just over a year ago.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was dispatched to the scene, along with representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. Authorities are investigating to learn the gunman’s identity and motive.
Update, Nov. 8, 2018, at 10:25 a.m.: This post has been updated with information about the suspect’s identity.
Correction, Nov. 8, 2018, at 10:25 a.m.: This post previously identified the gunman as 29 years old. New reports from the police indicate he was 28.