By KRYSTA FAURIA Associated Press
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – A gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on “college night,” killing 12 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene, police said.
An official told The Associated Press the man was 29 years old and deployed a smoke device and used a .45-caliber handgun when he opened fire inside the Borderline Bar & Grill late Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.
A sheriff’s spokesman says the shooter is also dead inside the bar. 10 other people were shot and wounded. No other information on the victims was immediately known.
Kuredjian said hundreds of people were inside the bar and shots were still being fired when deputies arrived.
Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was inside the bar when a gunman walked in with his face partly covered by something resembling a ski mask, opened fire on a person working the door, then began to shoot people at random.
“It was really, really really shocking,” Whitler told KABC-TV as she stood with her father in the Borderline parking lot. “It looked like he knew what he was doing.”
It was college night and country two-step lessons were being offered Wednesday at the Borderline, according to its website.
It has been “quite some time” since there was a shooting of any kind in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, just across the county line.
Nick Steinwender, student body president at nearby California Lutheran University, rushed to the scene when he heard about a shooting at the bar where he knew friends and fellow students were inside.
“It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, people hopping over gates to get out” Steinwender told KABC.
He said he heard from people inside that they were hiding in bathrooms and the attic of the bar.
AP journalist Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.
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