At least 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, have been killed and multiple others injured during a shooting at the country western dance hall Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The bar was holding a “College Country” night event when the shooter reportedly stormed the entrance at around 11:30 pm local time, per RT.
One witnessed interviewed by local TV station ABC7 said that the shooting started when the gunman approached the entrance to the bar, located at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive, and shot a security guard and cashier. He then lobbed a smoke bomb inside the building as he continued to fire into the crowd. According to a local CBS affiliate station, witnesses described the suspected gunman as a man who was wearing a trench coat and had a scarf on his face, or possibly a beard.
The shooter, who has been identified as a male, was reportedly shot and killed by police inside the bar; no other details about him have been released. Witnesses described hearing numerous loud gunshots ring out inside the club, which sent patrons scrambling for cover. Many got down on the floor.
“I just started hearing these big pops,” said the witness, a man who was not identified. “The gunman was throwing smoke grenades.”
Then, panic ensued as people tried to flee.
“He just kept firing,” the witness said, adding that “people were trying to get out the window” to run away from the gunman, who was wearing a hat and a black jacket and had “a big handgun.”
The shooting unfolded as patrons were in the middle of dancing, hanging out and having a good time.
“There were people in the middle dancing and just hanging out and having a good time and you hear that and you just know something’s up,” Erika Sigman said. “In this community, it’s very hard for me to comprehend it because I’ve been here all my life and to think that – I’ve never experienced it, I’ve just never experienced it.”
One couple told the CBS that their daughter had been wounded during the incident.
“She was probably on the [dance] floor when this was going on, because she comes here every Wednesday night,” the victim’s father said. “Things are a little sketchy – we don’t have a lot of information right now.”
Another witness who had been hanging out on the bar’s patio said another patron saved her.
“A guy who I don’t even know who had seen me there was like, ‘Get down.’ He threw me under one of the tables and then you couldn’t see anything because I guess there was smoke. And then one of the guys who was there started throwing tables out the window and they picked us up and they threw me and my girlfriend out the window. They carried us and then I reunited with my friends, and I was lucky to get out. I was only there for a good 10 minutes but I just – there’s like no words. Those are my people and it’s just not fair, it’s not fair,” she said.
Videos published to social media showed young people dressed for a fun night out crying and hugging one another outside the bar.
One woman shared her horror during an interview with the press and described how she heard the gunshots and saw the shooter throwing smoke bombs.
One young bar patron who spoke with the Washington Post said she heard four loud bangs then ducked for cover. She fled the bar after spotting an accessible exit.
Rochelle Hammons, 24, told The Post that she heard four shots before she was able to flee.
“All of a sudden we heard four shots, you know, ‘bang, bang, bang, bang.’ Everyone got down on the floor. Everyone ducked and covered each other,” she said. “As everyone crouched down on the floor, I figured that my only chance would be to run out to the nearest exit. I saw the nearest exit, and I ran out as fast as I could.”
From inside her car, she saw the first police officer arrive, she said. She rolled down her window and told him there was an active shooter inside.
“You gotta hurry, you gotta get in there,” she urged him.
Local police from Thousand Oaks and the surrounding towns have responded the incident, as have multiple federal agencies, including the FBI.
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