At Least Twelve Killed, Shooter Dead, In Shooting At California Bar

Thirteen people, including eleven civilians, a Sheriff's Deputy, and the gunman, are dead after a shooting at a bar in California.

At least thirteen people, including eleven civilians, a Sheriff’s Deputy, and the gunman, have died, and many more injured, in a shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Califonia that is frequented by many local college students:

At least 13 people are dead after a mass shooting inside a crowded Thousand Oaks bar late Wednesday night, with a gunman throwing smoke bombs and raining bullets on an event popular with college students.

The shooting art the Borderline Bar & Grill left 12 people, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. A sheriff’s department sergeant responding to the scene was shot several times and died at a hospital. The gunman is also dead.

More people were wounded.

The gunman, who is believed to be among the dead, burst into the bar around 11:20 p.m., cloaked in all black as he threw smoke bombs and began shooting at targets as young as 18 authorities and witnesses said. Several witnesses described the weapon used as a pistol.

Deputies arrived and got into a firefight with the suspect, which left one deputy seriously injured, according to Capt. Garo Kuredjian, a Ventura County Sheriff’s department spokesman.

Witnesses reported a horrifying scene as gunfire echoed through the club and those inside ran for cover, in some cases using chairs to break windows to escape the building. Others hid in bathrooms and an attic as they frantically called loved ones who were hearing reports of the shooting.

Teylor Whittler went to Borderline to celebrate her 21st birthday on Wednesday night. She was dancing with friends in the bar when she heard what sounded like firecrackers. She quickly turned and followed the noise, only to find a man holding a gun near the entrance to Borderline.

Erika Sigman, 19, said she began to race toward an exit as soon as screams erupted.

“I’m a Thousand Oaks resident,” she said. “This is a safe place. My parents let me go here. This is a trusted place … to know that this happened in my safe place is a very, very scary thing. You just don’t expect it to happen in Thousand Oaks.”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had been dispatched to the scene, according to an agency spokeswoman. She could not immediately comment on a motive in the shooting. Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives had also been dispatched.

Kuredjian said hundreds of people were inside the bar at the time of the shooting, but he could not comment on the extent of the injuries suffered by those shot. The number of people injured is likely to rise, he said, as many victims transported themselves to area hospitals and emergency rooms with injuries.

Wednesday nights are college-themed nights open to students as young as 18, according to the bar’s website. Witnesses said the event is popular with Moorpark college students, and the Pepperdine student newspaper tweeted that students from its campus were also inside at the time of the shooting.

Some witnesses said the bar was a hub for country music fans. Many of the attendees Wednesday night normally attended the Stage Coach country music festival in California and, tragically, some were survivors of the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas that left 58 dead last year.

Large crowds were forming in the area as friends and family members arrived at the scene to try and find out if their loved ones had survived the assault. Some who escaped the gunfire could be seen frantically talking on phones desperate to get information on friends or family members who may have been trapped inside, announcing the names of the people they were searching for during live television interviews.

A hotline has been established for those seeking information about their loved ones, according to the Ventura County Fire Department, which urged people to call (805) 465-6650.

Nellie Wong, who was also celebrating her 21st birthday on Wednesday night, said she scraped her knees diving to the floor when the shots rang out. Wong said she believed the gunman, who was dressed in a black hoodie, black shirt and black pants with a scarf obscuring his face, threw smoke bombs as he entered.

“Thank goodness he didn’t see me at all. I immediately stopped moving, stopped breathing,” said Wong, a student at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo. “My heart was pumping really fast.”

Savannah Stafseth was standing outside crying with multiple cuts on her arms

“There are no words. Those are my people,” she said. “It’s just not fair. It’s not fair.”

Aubrey Ryan, 27, of Newbury Park, was in the front of the restaurant with at least 15 friends when a man came in and started shooting at the ceiling.

The gunman shouted something but Ryan could not hear what he said. A friend threw her onto an outdoor balcony as the gunfire rang out so she could escape, said Ryan, who feared some of her friends were still inside the bar.

More from The Washington Post:

Authorities in Thousand Oaks, Calif., northwest of Los Angeles, reported 13 fatalities at a bar and dance hall late Wednesday after multiple shots were fired by a man inside. A deputy sheriff, Ron Helus, was among those killed. The gunman was also killed, authorities said.

Sgt. Eric Buschow said the suspect has not yet been identified. Nor has any motive been determined.

The reports of a shooter came in about 11:20 p.m. Pacific time Thursday. “This is still an active scene,” Kuredjian said at about 12:50 a.m. Special weapons and tactics teams arrived on the scene a short time later, along with the FBI. Video from the scene showed bar-goers rushing injured people to medical response vehicles.

By early Thursday morning, the building had been cleared, Kuredjian said, adding, “We’re confident there is no outstanding shooter.”

A man and his stepfather interviewed by ABC7 Eyewitness News said they heard about 12 shots before they were able to exit through the front door of the nightclub.

“He fired the first shot,” the stepfather said. “And I knew it was real. My son thought it was a joke, so I pulled him down and got some cover. I looked up, and he was moving to the right. He shot the front doorman, who was just a young man. Then he shot the cashier, just a young girl.”

Multiple eyewitnesses described seeing smoke, possibly from smoke bombs, and said people used chairs to break windows to flee from the scene.

“It was sheer panic,” said Teylor Whittler, 19, who was inside the venue at the time. “Everyone ran and dropped as fast as they could.”

She said she ran to the back door, where people crowded as the gunfire briefly quieted. “And then all, of a sudden, a couple of guys started running to the back door and said, ‘Get up he’s coming.'”

Borderline describes itself as the county’s largest country dance hall and live music venue. With a dance floor covering about 2,500 square feet, it is open until 2 a.m. five days a week.

Wednesday was “College Country Night” at the bar. Authorities said more than 100 had been inside at the time of the shooting.

Rochelle Hammons, 24, told The Post that she heard four shots before she was able to flee.

“All of a sudden we heard four shots, you know, ‘bang, bang, bang, bang.’ Everyone got down on the floor. Everyone ducked and covered each other,” she said. “As everyone crouched down on the floor, I figured that my only chance would be to run out to the nearest exit. I saw the nearest exit, and I ran out as fast as I could.”

From inside her car, she saw the first police officer arrive, she said. She rolled down her window and told him there was an active shooter inside.

“You gotta hurry, you gotta get in there,” she urged him.

Given the hour at which this occurred, there are understandably few details regarding the shooting at this point in time, However several people who survived the shooting and were describing the scene to reporters said that the shooter was a white man of unknown age who apparently burst into the bar, shot a woman who may have been a bar employee at point-blank range immediately after entering and then jumped behind the bar from where he unloaded into the crowd that had gathered from apparently as many as five universities located in the general area, including Pepperdine University. As has become typical in these active shooter situations, police immediately made their way inside the building and engaged in a firefight with the shooter, apparently killing him. It was during this firefight that Ron Helus, a Sargent with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, was seriously injured, he was taken to the hospital but died shortly after arrival. Helus had been with the department for 29 years and was among the first officers to enter the bar during the shooting alongside an officer from the California Highway Patrol who had also arrived on the scene. The shooter is also dead, and there are apparently dozens of injuries both inside the bar and in the form of people who escaped and were able to drive themselves, or get a ride, to one of the local Emergency rooms, No doubt, the injury total will end up being quite high given the number of people killed, and it’s also possible that the death toll itself could rise in the coming hours.

There is obviously no confirmation of the identity of the shooter and no word on a motive. The local Sheriff said at an early press briefing that they had not ruled terrorism out as a motive, but also cautioned that there was no evidence at this point to call it terrorism. There is also no word on what types of weapons were used in the shooting or how the shooter may have obtained those weapons. Several witnesses, though, reported that the shooter began tossing what they called “smoke bombs” when he was behind the bar and that he apparently paused to reload on at least one occasion during the shooting spree.

Here’s one person who was inside the bar talking about what happened:

And here is the Ventura County Sheriff speaking about the officer lost in the line of duty:

Update: Authorities have identified the gunman and the weapon that was used, a 45-caliber Glock handgun, but there is no word on a possible motive:

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Too soon for informed speculation (uninformed speculation is right on time ) but I do want to point out that at this point in the 2018 season, the score now stands at

    Mass Shooters: 310
    Thoughts and Prayers: 0

    and with less than 2 months left in the season, it is safe to say that team Thoughts and Prayers is getting slaughtered. Again.

  2. Michael ******* says:

    I blame the freaking media, they seem to forget or maybe are just to Brain dead to realize, that there are nut cases out there looking for there 15 minutes of fame, and the more the media keeps talking about it over and over again on the air the more these idiots think about going out and committing the same crime. So maybe wake up media vultures and learn to keep your mouths shut

  3. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Michael *******: That’s all well and good, until large numbers of obituaries start showing up in the papers, with no indication as to how they died. The howls from the families and friends of the dead would be deafening.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael *******: Yeah! If we just stop talking about it mass shooters will stop killing people they hate! Or at least Michael won’t have to trouble his poor mind with these disturbing incidents.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael *******: So we’re just going to vanish people from history, like the people who fell from favour under Stalin and who got sent to the gulags?

    You really haven’t thought this through, have you? Perhaps you’re only 14?

  6. SenyorDave says:

    @Michael *******: I think you got your idea from a Simpsons episode. Monsters are terrorizing Springfield, and ad guy tells the townspeople if they ignore the monsters they’ll just go away. So your solution is ignore the shooters and they’ll just go away. Just pretend the incidents never happen, and they’ll stop.

  7. Franklin says:

    It seems the well-tested plan of “doing nothing” is working out exactly as expected.

  8. Franklin says:

    Also, don’t respond to trolls. Especially ones dumb enough to think we can magically get out of the information age.

  9. PJ says:

    In countries with a lot fewer shootings (mass or not) than the US there is a lot of news when they actually happen, and yet there isn’t any increase in shootings because of all the reporting…

  10. PJ says:

    But he’s right! If media stop reporting about [insert crime] then there will be no more [insert crime].

    If media stop reporting about insider trading, then there will be no more insider trading, because the people committing it would only get the idea to do so because of all the reporting in the media.

    If media stop reporting about voter suppression then there will be no more voter suppression, because the people committing it would only get the idea to do so because of all the reporting in the media.

    If media stops reporting about Trump’s vileness then Trump would no longer be vile because he’s only doing it because of all the media he gets by doing it!

    Probably best to shut down all media.

  11. drj says:

    @Michael *******:

    3/10. Too many spelling errors gave the game away.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PJ: It’s a well known fact they are the enemies of the people.

  13. Kathy says:

    The real problem is there is no political will to even try to address the problem.

    It’s necessary to identify problems in order to implement solutions. But merely identifying the problem does nothing, if that’s where it stops. Republicans claim mass shootings are a mental health issue. I think they’re wrong, or at best address only a portion of mass shootings. But they don’t even propose any solutions based on their own diagnosis.

    They don’t propose making mental health services widely available and affordable, for example, nor of requiring any kind of psychiatric test in order to acquire weapons. They may as well blame the whole thing on invisible, intangible, purple unicorns messing with people’s minds.

    Even problems with causes that can’t be addressed or affected can be solved or ameliorated. Earthquakes, for example. You can’t stop one, or even predict one. But you can have early warning alerts to give a few seconds head start, draw building codes so structures won’t collapse in most quakes, have plans of action and equipment ready in quake-prone areas, etc.

    The Democrats favor gun control. that is better, but won’t end the problem. It will ameliorate it. For example, banning high-caliber guns and rapid fire guns, would make mass shootings less deadly. That’s not much, but it’s something. Banning guns entirely would do even more, but it’s not possible to do so.

  14. Slugger says:

    Why does Trump refuse to take action to protect us from these terrorists?

  15. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Kathy: One thing that I’ve noticed (and wonder why that is) is the response by law enforcement to work hard to understand the dead gunman’s motives.

    Is there a law enforcement database somewhere that will someday be used by academics to promote legislation?

  16. al Ameda says:

    @Michael *******:

    I blame the freaking media, they seem to forget or maybe are just to Brain dead to realize, that there are nut cases out there looking for there 15 minutes of fame, and the more the media keeps talking about it over and over again on the air the more these idiots think about going out and committing the same crime. So maybe wake up media vultures and learn to keep your mouths shut

    At least you, like so many are prone to do, did not blame Jim Acosta.

    Honestly, how can the media, by any standard, NOT report these mass shootings? Are some of these people motivated by the possibility of mass media coverage and are martyring themselves? Yeah, probably, still those shootings in Las Vegas, Parkland, Pittsburgh, Charleston and elsewhere ARE news, and deserve the blanket coverage that they result in.

    I believe that many conservatives want less attention to paid to these shootings because they always beg or call into question the oversupply, easy access and availability of weaponry guns in this country. It’s an unpleasant subject to be sure.

  17. Kathy says:


    It might be important to understand their motivations as a means to set up effective deterrents. But, again, that would work only if someone is doing something about it. Academics do study these things.

    In fact, one thing I can criticize the media for, is that they don’t provide enough follow up to big stories, not after they’ve passed from their height of notoriety. Not just mass shootings, but other things as well.

  18. Teve says:

    The information content of mass shooting stories is very small. It happens every day in America. News websites should just keep a Mass Shooting Open Thread.

  19. Teve says:

    @Slugger: There were excellent people on both sides of that shooting.

  20. al Ameda says:

    By the way:
    The shooter is Ian Long … Tattooed trenchcoat-wearing ex-Marine, 28, is identified as gunman who massacred twelve people during student night at country bar: Suspect killed himself after hurling smoke grenades onto dance floor and slaying cop in California.

    Also, Thousand Oaks is an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, just north of LA, on the way into Ventura County.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: There does seem to be political will on the part of the public. Things like universal background checks and waiting periods consistently poll around 2/3 or 3/4 of the public in favor, even majorities of gun owners. But for most of these people it’s not a number one issue, not even top five. There’s maybe 10% for whom it is a number one issue.

    Dem pols seem willing to take it on. Karen Handel just conceded what was Tom Price’s GA seat to Lucy McBath, a Dem anti-gun violence activist who becomes the 29th D House pickup. (Appointing Price to HHS, leaving a supposedly safe R seat, is now another example of Trump’s political genius.)

    But Rs cannot allow anything to be done. It’s of course partly fear of NRA money, but I think it’s deeper. They know they need to make a wedge issue of any cultural difference they can find. It’s their only hope of election. It’s also a display of the moral rot at the heart of the Party. They’re willing to let people die in order to have a chance to do the will of Charles Koch.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @PJ:..If media stop reporting about [insert crime] then there will be no more [insert crime]
    This is why I advocate for anarchy.
    If there are no laws then by definition there can not be any crime.

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!
    A Man for All Seasons

  23. Leonard says:
  24. KM says:


    It might be important to understand their motivations as a means to set up effective deterrents. But, again, that would work only if someone is doing something about it.

    The first step actually needs to be admitting what their motivations are stems from who they are. Time and time again the same pattern emerges:
    – male, almost always young to middle-age, almost always “white”
    – clear anger and/or mental health issues spanning years
    – wound collector that documents / airs their grievances publicly but no one takes them seriously
    – history of abusive behavior towards women, usually in the form of complaints to police or worse. Again, never taken seriously – retraining order is usually as far as it goes
    – repeated bigoted behavior towards an outgroup, both in person and online
    – radicalization from association with a known movement that bolsters their wound collecting and reinforces their sense of outrage

    Creating effective deterrents means looking at this criteria and admitting to the world this is a very specific type of offender…. and it happens to resemble the dominant social group in our country. We can talk about motivations and deterrents till we’re blue in the face because anything useful would put restrictions on the in-group in power and that’s not happening.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, the saying is that the meek shall inherit the earth–usually in parcels 6 feet long and 2 feet wide.

  26. Teve says:

    Some of the people who survived this shooting also survived that shooting in Las Vegas.

    What a country!

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: Trump’s doing all he can. During the campaign and beyond he has openly advocated violence against people who disagree with him, retaliatory shootings, arming school teachers, and “shoot first and question the corpses.” What more can we expect?

  28. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Did you intend to describe Mr President ?


  29. Lynn says:

    @Kathy: “They don’t propose making mental health services widely available and affordable, for example, nor of requiring any kind of psychiatric test in order to acquire weapons. ”

    I used to do psych evals as part of my job. There are very few cases in which I’d be willing to say that this person will/won’t commit violent acts.

  30. KM says:


    nor of requiring any kind of psychiatric test in order to acquire weapons.

    Well, duh. They know very well any test that evaluates mental fitness is stands a good chance of declaring them unfit. In their secretest hearts, they are aware of how they look to others even if they don’t agree the action is mentally unsound. Should tests be implemented they way they suggest (vs how they’re used in reality), the number of people deemed capable would be insanely low. In fact, one could argue that even seeking out legal permission to own a device who’s only function is to harm and kill is intent that one is capable of using said device at will and has questionable concern for the safety of others.

    “Mentally ill!!” is the new “squirrel!” It’s a poor fig leaf and nothing more. Anything that would infringe is a no-no so if they give you lip service about the mentally ill not having guns, they’re blowing smoke up your ass.

  31. Kathy says:


    I used to do psych evals as part of my job. There are very few cases in which I’d be willing to say that this person will/won’t commit violent acts.

    I said it as an example. I don’t think you can even diagnose a real disorder with one simple test. the point is that if Republicans, and especially republican politicians, think it can all be reduced to a mental health issue, they should at least pretend to do something about it.

    What they’re really saying is “It was just a nut. Nothing to be done about it.”

  32. Kathy says:


    But for most of these people it’s not a number one issue, not even top five. There’s maybe 10% for whom it is a number one issue.

    I don’t want to argue terminology, but the lack of a strong demand for a solution is what makes no political will available.

    That, and perhaps the fact that those opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership are a very noisy bunch and they have NRA money.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Just wanted to point out that those three who down voted this statement? Not one of them had an argument they could make against it. They just didn’t like facing the truth of what I said.

  34. Eric Florack says:

    With regard to Thousand Oaks, and the steady drumbeat coming from the idiots about “reasonable gun control”…

    Very few people will argue that California is not the most left-leaning state in the nation. Presumably the existing gun laws in California, which are the strictest anti-gun legislation in the entire country, are considered reasonable by the left-leaning voters there.

    And yes, this happened.

    So Listen by any reasonable standard would be that there are some things that laws cannot cure. Particularly when they’re not even applied.

    So essentially, what we have here is a failure of government. You know, the government said we’re supposed to be so dependent upon