THOUSAND OAKS, California — Authorities say at least 13 people, including a sheriff’s sergeant and the suspect, are dead after the gunman opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said at a news conference early Thursday there were “multiple other” victims of different levels of injury who were taken to local hospitals.
Dean identified the slain deputy as Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year member of the force who was to retire next year. He has a wife and a son.
Dean said Healus was among the first responders and that he died a hero.
“He went in to save lives, other people,” said Dean.
Police tell the Ventura County Star that the initial report came around 11:20 p.m. that the man opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.
Witnesses tell ABC News that a man fired several shots from a handgun before tossing smoke bombs and starting to fire again.
“There were people hiding in restrooms, hiding in attics,” said Dean.
Dean said authorities haven’t yet confirmed the validity of the smoke bomb reports. A bomb team is investigating at the scene.
He also said the suspect has not been identified and police aren’t sure yet of a motive.
“It is a horrific scene in there, there is a lot of blood in there.,” he said.
Police tell the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 shots were fired.
According to the bar’s website, it was “College Country Night.”
A promotional video posted to YouTube shows how crowded the bar can be during the popular night.