There were hundreds of people packed inside Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks when a gunman burst inside throwing smoke grenades and firing dozens of rounds, witnesses and authorities said. Police found the shooter dead inside, possibly from a self-inflicted wound.
An unknown number of people were also wounded during the attack at the Borderline Bar and Grill, a Country & Western venue in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks where a crowd had gathered for a night of dancing, drinking and eating.
"[He] said to her, 'Hey I got to go handle a call. It can happen anywhere".
Helus was one of the first on the scene and was struck multiple times when he went through the front door, the sheriff's office said.
"It's still very fluid, and I hope to give you guys updates in terms of both the number and the status of the shooter".
Witnesses described a man cloaked in black and wearing glasses as he walked onto a dance floor filled with people. Terrified customers began shattering windows in an attempt to escape. Law enforcement and emergency crews were flooding the scene.
Sheriff Geoff Dean said police had responded to a minor disturbance. The gun was legally purchased, he added.
It was the second mass shooting in less than two weeks, after a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue on October 27.
People comfort each other near the scene of the shooting.
"He probably should have retired a couple years ago, he could have, but he stayed on because he loved the fight", Novak said.
Dean said about 15 others had injuries considered non-life-threatening, including cuts that came from jumping out of a window or diving under a table, the sheriff said.
Ron Helus, a Ventura County sheriff's sergeant, was killed in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday night. Once safely outside, the uninjured hugged and awaited word about those still inside.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was checking to see if any Israelis were among the victims.
Long served in the Marines from August 2008 until March 2013. He was deployed to Afghanistan from November 16, 2010 to June 14, 2011, the Marine Corps said.
Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus was among the 12 killed by Long.
The father told CNN he can track his son's cell phone - and the tracking indicates it still was in the bar Thursday morning. Investigators are working out the details of what transpired, Dean added.
"He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally", Sheriff Dean said, but he said he was unaware of a PTSD or mental illness diagnosis.
Federal Bureau of Investigation officials were seen visiting a residence believed to be Long's in Newbury Park, California, which neighbors Thousand Oaks.
"Great bravery shown by police". The highway patrolman cleared the perimeter and pulled Helus out, and waited as a SWAT team and scores more officers arrived.
A police officer who tried to enter during the shooting was also shot, and transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Justin Meek was identified as a victim by family to ABC7 News. "Thank you to Law Enforcement".