California bar shooting: At least 12 killed in Thousand Oaks

The bar in Thousand Oaks, California was packed with college students when the gunman opened fire.

    Reports said the bar was packed with college students before the gunman forced his way in [AP]
    Reports said the bar was packed with college students before the gunman forced his way in [AP]

    A gunman killed at least 12 people late on Wednesday after opening fire on a bar packed with college students in southern California, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's office.

    Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said on Thursday that more then a dozen other people were wounded following the incident at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 50km west of Los Angeles.  

    "It's a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere," Dean said.

    The gunman, who police identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, died inside the bar.

    Dean said Long was armed with a Glock 21, a .45-caliber handgun designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber.

    But the sheriff added the gun had an extended magazine that is illegal in California. The sheriff said he does not know how many rounds that magazine can hold.

    There were also reports that the gunman used smoke bombs before opening fire. 

    The bar's website says it hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.

    Among the dead is Sergeant Ron Helus, who was with the force for 29 years.

    "Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant. He was totally committed. He gave his all and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people," Dean said. 

    According to police, at least one person who survived the shooting suffered a gunshot wound. Others were injured from jumping out windows and diving under tables.

    People comfort each other as they stand near the scene in Thousand Oaks, California [Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo]

    Long list of mass shootings

    The shooting is the latest in a long list of mass shootings in the US.  

    Three of the deadliest mass shootings in US modern history have occurred since October 2017.  

    In February, a gunman killed 17 people - most of whom were students - at a high school in Florida. In November 2017, a man entered a church in rural Texas and killed 26 people. And in October 2017, a man shot hundreds of people attending a country music concert in Las Vegas from the window of a hotel, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 others. 

    The string of shootings has reignited the debate over gun control, with young people taking the lead. Earlier this year, hundreds of students, teachers and their supporters marched in large cities in the US against gun violence and called on politicians to take more action on gun control. 

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies