Updated Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
A lone gunman carrying a .45-caliber pistol killed 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday, authorities say. When the shooting started, the Borderline Bar & Grill likely held hundreds of people, drawn by the weekly "College Country Night."
The dead include Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of law enforcement who went into the nightclub within minutes of receiving an emergency call. As many as 15 people inside the bar were injured, and one person had a minor gunshot wound.
Police say the suspected gunman, Ian David Long, 28, was found dead inside the venue. He had previously had minor encounters with the police, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said at a news briefing Thursday morning.
Authorities were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.
Long's body was discovered in an office near the entrance to the Borderline, the sheriff said, adding that "we believe he shot himself" after an initial exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers. Dean also said the shooting inside the club stopped after Helus and a highway patrol officer intervened.
An officer with the call sign "4 Sam 3" reported at about 11:24 p.m. that he was planning to enter the building with two California Highway Patrol officers, according to sheriff's dispatch audio retrieved from broacastify.com. It is unverified if the call sign belonged to Helus, but "4 Sam 3" was later discovered unresponsive near an entrance to the building.
"One subject advised she didn't see him come out," the officer broadcast. "We're making entry."
At approximately 11:26 p.m., the officer broadcast: "We've got multiple people down. We're going to need a lot of ambulances and fire."
Within one minute, another officer reported "multiple shots being fired."
When asked what the scene looked like inside the Borderline bar, Dean replied, "Like hell."
Dispatch audio relayed a witness account that his friend had been shot in the chest, and that the suspect had thrown a smoke grenade.
"Numerous ... victims covered in blood" fled the scene to another bar north of Highway 101, a dispatcher reported.
Several people hid in bathrooms, behind the bar and in the building's attic while they waited for police to again enter the building. A SWAT team was dispatched, and a team of officers went into the building a few minutes after midnight, according to dispatch audio. They evacuated the building over the next hour.
Chaos at the Borderline
Wednesday nights at the Borderline Bar & Grill are billed as Country College Night. Known for having all-ages shows, the club's website advertises dance lessons; its Facebook page shows people line dancing on its large dance floor. The Borderline is popular with students from nearby Pepperdine University, which says it has confirmed that "multiple" students were at the bar Wednesday night.
The reach of the tragedy extends to the Bay Area, with the identification of one of the victims as Alaina Housley, a freshman at Pepperdine University.
Housley was a 2018 graduate of Vintage High School in Napa. Her death was announced via email Thursday afternoon from Rosanna Mucetti, superintendent of Napa Valley Unified School District.
"Our entire community is devastated," Napa Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Elizabeth Emmett told KQED. "Alaina was an outstanding, outstanding student here at Vintage High School. She was an athlete, a musician, a scholar, an honor student, she was on student government."
Pepperdine also confirmed Housley's death in a tweet.