13 dead in CA attack
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Using a smoke bomb and a handgun, a hooded gunman dressed all in black opened fire during “college night” at a country music bar in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing in terror, authorities said today. The gunman then apparently killed himself.
Authorities said the motive for the attack Wednesday night was under investigation.
The killer was identified as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said his department had several previous contacts with Long, including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him angry and acting irrationally. The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at the time and concluded Long did not need to be taken into custody.
Patrons at the bar screamed in fear, shouted “Get down!” and used barstools to smash second-floor windows and jump to safety as gunfire erupted at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University. The dead included 11 people inside the bar and a sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, the sheriff said.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said in the parking lot. “There’s blood everywhere.”
The killer deployed a smoke device and used a .45-caliber handgun, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since 17 students and teachers were killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. That, in turn, closely followed the series of pipe bombs mailed to critics of President Donald Trump.
Trump praised police for their “great bravery” in the California attack and said, “God bless all of the victims and families of the victims.”
The gunman was tall and wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations. He first fired on a person working the door, then appeared to shoot at random at people inside, they said.