Gunman kills 12 at crowded country and western bar in California

Erika Holt
November 9, 2018

While most of the victims are yet to be identified, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean revealed one of the victims was a 29-year veteran of the force, Sgt. Ron Helus. "I love you. I'll talk to you later", Dean said of the conversation. They say the gunman did not say anything. And the gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place.

Authorities urged the public to avoid the area.

The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the USA since 17 students and teachers were slain at a Parkland, Florida, high school nine months ago. On his "about" page, Helus wrote that that he'd been a firearms instructor for more than 25 years, and had previously worked with the basic and advanced SWAT schools. His face was partly covered as he shot at people in the club.

When deputies responded to the scene, he said, shots were still being fired.

Coffman said he bonded with Cody over outdoor activities - he coached his son in baseball starting from age 3 and the two often went fishing together.

Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears.

The wounded police officer was taken to hospital, but later died of his injuries.

The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at that time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody.

Curley spoke to Tremonti from the scene of the shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Alaina Housley, a student at Pepperdine University, was reported missing following the shooting by her suitemate.

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The venue in a quiet, upscale residential suburb was hosting an event for college students, with possibly several hundred young people in attendance, Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's office said.

The 23-year-old was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, and "heroically saved lives in the incident", according to the university's president, Chris Kimball.

Nick Steinwender, who is part of the university's student government, said his friends were inside the bar when the shooting started.

"Oh Cody, I love you son". Active law enforcement incident.

"We don't know who shot anybody at this point". She said she saw the gunman reload his weapon before she escaped.

Deputies say many people fled the bar after shots rang out. "I just can't imagine what they're going through right now".

Tayler Whitler said she was on the dance floor when she heard people yelling "get down".

He said a highway patrol officer was nearby who just happened to be pulling someone over. "We have no idea what the motive was at this point", Dean said. He said he had friends who hadn't been accounted for.

A victim of the shooting is wheeled away minutes after the gun rampage.

"We haven't heard back from everyone", she told CNN.

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