(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Last night, we went to bed thinking about a great many things. For some of us, our thoughts were still on the midterm elections, on how bad that whole thing could have turned out, but there was an infinite number of possibilities.
In Thousand Oaks, California, some folks decided to call it a late night and hit the dance floor.
The last thing they expected was to be gunned down in the middle of their night of fun.
Reports are still early, which means they’ll be contradictory going forward. What we know at this time is that 12 people have been reported dead. That number apparently includes the gunman who entered the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. At least an equal number of people are reported wounded in the attack.
Witnesses report the man entering the bar, then shooting a woman behind a counter just inside the bar.
Hundreds of people were believed to be inside the nightclub when the attack began. Some began busting windows to escape.
Mitchell Hunter, 19, of Simi Valley, has bloodied hands after breaking a window with a chair to get out of Borderline after he heard shots on the dancefloor. #Borderline #Borderlineshooting pic.twitter.com/x3MX1rkNDf
— Jeremy Childs (@Jeremy_Childs) November 8, 2018
Right now, we know very little about the attack, the attacker, or much of anything. To be sure, more information will be coming. Police are just now really delving into their investigations, and while updates will be forthcoming, it’s still very early.
NBC News is reporting that one of the dead includes a responding police officer.
Sgt. Ron Healus died after being struck “multiple times by gunfire,” Dean said. Healus was a 29-year police veteran who was looking to retire in the next year.
Healus was injured when he arrived at the scene and “attempted to neutralize the threat,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said.
An eyewitness reports that the killer entered the club with a handgun and what he described as “smoke grenades.”
One survivor, Matthew Estron, told NBC Los Angeles that the shooter was tall dressed “all in black” and armed with a handgun and some kind of smoke grenades.
“We heard shots, I looked up and knew exactly what was happening. I tried to pull down as many people as I could,” he said. “As soon as we heard a break in the shooting we knew he was reloading and we threw a couple of bar stools through the closest to us so we could get out.”
He said the shooter entered and turned to the door counter and coat check area before eventually working his way to the bar.
“He didn’t say anything, at least not that we could hear,” Estron added. “Everyone was just trying to get out.”
Please keep in mind that any of this information is subject to change as the situation there is very fluid. People are making mistakes and passing that information on, so that may cause some contradictory reports.
We will keep you informed as we receive new information throughout the day.
7:15 AM (Eastern) Update: 12 people are dead, but the mainstream media is on top of things.
Dean said investigators had not found any type of assault rifle within the bar.
“Right now as far as we know there was only one handgun, but that could certainly change as we do a more thorough search of the building.”
Because what matters right now is advancing an anti-assault weapon narrative.
7:37 AM (Eastern) Update: While it may seem obvious, we now know that the sheriff’s deputy slain in the attack was killed while trying to take down the shooter.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean choked back tears as he described the sheriff’s sergeant killed in a mass shooting at a California bar.
The sheriff said Sgt. Ron Helus undoubtedly saved lives by going in to confront the gunman. He says Helus was the first responder and was immediately hit with multiple gunshots.
He says a highway patrolman pulled out Helus and waited for a SWAT team as scores of other officers converged on the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m.
By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped, and they found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman. He says Helus was later declared dead at a hospital.
We don’t know if the gunman killed himself or succumbed to wounds that resulted from his engaging with Helus. Either way, Helus died a hero.
8:10 AM (Eastern) Update: Well, that didn’t take long:
Rep. Jim Himes, whose home state of Connecticut endured the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, blasted inaction on gun control after hearing about the mass shooting in California on Wednesday night.
He told CNN: “I’m embarrassed to say … my first thought was, ‘here we go again, it’s this week’s mass shooting,’ and that’s a really hard way to think about this. I contrast where we are today with how we all felt about Sandy Hook.”
“This is a weekly thing (and) even though it’s become a weekly thing, nobody does anything, especially the Congress where I work,” he lamented.
“35,000 Americans dead a year as a result of gun violence and Congress can’t even find its way to studying the problem,” Himes said.
Do note, however, if a pro-gun politician started going on about gun free zones and California’s strict concealed carry laws preventing anyone being armed inside the bar, there would be screams about how insensitive the remarks are.
We know because we saw the outrage at President Trump’s similar suggestion after the Tree of Life shooting.
Decency is a one-way street, apparently.
10:02 AM (Eastern) Update: CNN is reporting 21 people injured in the attack were treated and released from area hospitals. There were no details released.
It’s also unclear if these were all the injuries or merely the ones not being kept for further treatment.
10:15 AM (Eastern) Update: ABC 7 News in California is now reporting 13 dead.
10:43 AM (Eastern) Update: Police have identified the gunman as a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran. He was found dead inside the bar from a self-inflicted wound after the attack.
He used a .45 caliber Glock and was known to law enforcement.
Here’s how Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the suspect’s previous run-ins with police:
We’ve had several contacts with [the gunman] over the years, minor events, a traffic collision. He was a victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015. In April of this year, deputies were called to his house for a subject disturbing. They went to the house, they talked to him. He was somewhat irate. Acting a little irrationally. They called out our crisis intervention team, our mental health specialists who met with him, talked to him and cleared him. Didn’t feel he was qualified to be taken under 5150. And he was left at that scene last April.
President Trump weighed in earlier this morning on Twitter.
I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2018
….Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2018
10:58 AM (Eastern) Update: Kamala Harris has joined the soon to be enormous choir of anti-gunners using the bodies of the slain as a soapbox.
My heart aches to learn about the horrific shooting in Thousand Oaks on college night. Praying for the injured and the families of those killed who, like so many others, have lost their loved ones to gun violence. Leaders in Congress must act — not some day, but now.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 8, 2018
It should be note, however, that this happened in California, a state known for having among the toughest gun control laws in the nation.
12:30 PM (Eastern) Update: President Trump orders U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff to honor the shooting victims.
The flag of the United States will be flown at half-staff to remember the victims of last night's horrible act of violence in Thousand Oaks, California. https://t.co/WC3pW8uYvx
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 8, 2018
"God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement." — President Donald J. Trump on last night's horrific shooting in Thousand Oaks, California pic.twitter.com/nUKfqu9yp7
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 8, 2018
Meanwhile, calls from Democratic politicians to “act now” continue.
It’s devastating to wake up to another horrific mass shooting. My heart breaks for the victims and families, the first responders – one of whom was killed trying to save lives – the community of Thousand Oaks, CA and our nation.
When will enough be enough? We must act now.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) November 8, 2018
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the brave first responders in Thousand Oaks. Our prayers are with the survivors for their recovery. This is yet another reminder of the scourge of gun violence that has plagued America for far too long. We must act to stop it.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 8, 2018
The mass shooting in Thousand Oaks is horrific, and all too familiar. Once again we are devastated by the loss of life. And we are grateful to the first responders, one of whom lost his life. Our response must not be familiar. We must do something about gun violence. We must ACT.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 8, 2018
1:00 PM (Eastern) Update: Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, responded to the attack on Twitter.
Let’s not make this a 2A issue in a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country .Instead let’s look at the issues mental health ,security and soft targets ! Prayers to all the victims and families #Fixit https://t.co/O7LEZzztzj
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) November 8, 2018
Pollack went viral on Twitter last month after telling Democrats to go to hell for failing protect his daughter.