A sheriff’s sergeant and 12 other people were killed in a mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California late Wednesday. The gunman, who has not been identified, is dead, authorities said.
Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks is a western-themed establishment known to regularly host country, salsa and swing dancing nights.
According to its website, the venue was hosting a college country night between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Wednesday night when the shooting occurred.
The bar is a few miles from California Lutheran University and is a popular spot for students. Some students from both California Lutheran University and nearby Pepperdine University are thought to have been present at the event on Wednesday night.
Authorities said shots were fired and people hit at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country-western dance bar in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Healus, who was shot after he entered the building, died at a hospital early Thursday.
Dean said there were “multiple other victims” with different levels of injury. He said it was not known if there was a terrorism link. Dean did not say how the gunman died.
He described the incident as a “tragic, tragic situation.”
The extent of the victims’ injuries was not immediately clear. Hundreds of people were inside the bar when the shooting occurred, the Los Angeles Times reported. Law enforcement and emergency crews flooded the scene and police urged the public to avoid the area.
Officers at the scene said the gunman might have used smoke bombs in the incident, but authorities later said they could not confirm that.
Note: Thousand Oaks, California was listed as the #44 safest city in all of California.
Earlier eyewitness accounts suggested that the shooter, who may have dressed all in black with a large trench coat, threw a smoke grenade into the bar before opening fire with a semi-automatic weapon. Shots were still being fired when officers arrived on the scene.
Officers indicated that about 30 shots had been fired and that victims fled from the bar into the surrounding neighborhood.
The Borderline Bar & Grill describes itself on its website as the county’s “Largest Country Dance Hall & Live Music Venue” with 2,500 square feet of open dance floor. It was reportedly college night at the venue when the shooting occurred.
Contributing: Ventura County Star staff; Jane Onyanga-Omara, USA TODAY