12 Dead in Ventura County Bar Shooting
At least twelve people are dead and more than a dozen are injured after a gunman entered a Thousand Oaks bar at 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday.
The gunman, now identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long of Newbury Park, was found dead after shooting patrons and law enforcement at Borderline Bar and Grill.
Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus, a 54-year-old and 29-year veteran, was among those killed while responding to the scene. During a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean stated Helus was married with an adult son. "He went in there to save people and made the ultimate sacrifice," said Dean.
Dean continued to state that Helus was the first to enter the building with a California Highway Patrol officer. They entered the building and immediately exchanged gunfire. Officers are trained to engage and immediately try to stop the target, said Dean. Helus was shot several times upon entering. "There's no doubt these officers saved lives," said Dean.
There are numerous reports of patrons inside the bar hiding in offices, bathrooms, and the attic space while several others broke windows to climb out. Dean confirmed there are 8-15 people who were injured on top of the 12 that were killed. Information on the victims has not yet been released.
It was also confirmed there were six off-duty officers inside the building. "A parent told me that they stood in front of their daughter," said Dean.
More details are being revealed about the gunman. Sheriff Dean confirmed that Long is a veteran of the US Marine Core, discharged in 2013, and hinted he may have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
There were several contacts between law enforcement and Long in the past. Most notably in April of this year, Sheriff's Deputies responded to Long's home for a reported disturbance. Dean stated that Long was irate and acting irrationally to the point where a crisis intervention mental health team was called. The mental health team felt he did not qualify for a 5150 hold and cleared him.
In 2015 he was the victim of battery at another Thousand Oaks bar, but more details are not known about this event. There was one instance where Long was issued a traffic citation and another where he was involved in a minor traffic collision.
Dean confirmed the weapon was purchased legally, a .45 caliber Glock 21 handgun. It holds ten rounds of ammunition and one in the chamber, but Dean confirmed it did have an extended magazine. It's believed this was the only weapon used.
Initial reports state the gunman drove a car to the bar, walked up to the entrance and shot the security guard. He then stepped inside, turned right, and shot several security guards and employees before opening fire inside the nightclub. It's unclear what the motive is and the connection between the gunman and the Borderline Bar and Grill.
At 10:00 a.m. Thursday, Helus' body will be transported via motorcade from Los Robles Hospital to westbound Janss Road. The motorcade will continue to travel southbound on Lynn Road to US 101 northbound to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.
"We've lost a hero and a great human being," Dean said choking back tears. "[This event] is a tragic and senseless loss of life."
Press Release from Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office
Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting Related Victim Information and Support
All of us have been shocked and deeply saddened by last night’s mass murder in Thousand Oaks.
Some of you have been more personally affected than others.
To locate Family Members who may have been amongst those affected please call 805-465-6650.
For those of you who have a personal connection with a victim or a survivor of this horrific crime, please know your District Attorney's Office, through the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) can help pay bills and expenses that result from violent crimes.
If you or anyone you know from Santa Barbara County was a victim of, or a witness to, the Thousand Oaks shooting, please contact my office, specifically the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Victim Witness Unit at (805) 568-2400 for assistance regarding applicable CalVCB benefits or additional information.
CalVCB can help victims of crimes that occur anywhere in California.
CalVCB may help pay for a variety of related expenses such as: Medical and dental treatment, mental health services, income loss, funeral and burial expenses, loss of support for dependents when a victim is killed or disabled because of a crime, home or vehicle modifications, home security and relocation.
Finally, please remember at times like all of us can feel especially fragile and vulnerable and any act of kindness can make a significant difference