Sheriff Vet Killed Responding to Calif Shooting - Police Depts Pay Tribute

Gunfire was first reported about 11:20 p.m, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters.

"It's a gun culture", California's Democratic Gov. -elect Gavin Newsom lamented Thursday. "This doesn't happen anywhere else on planet Earth".

"People do choreographed dances for hours, cowboy boots and hats in the middle of the suburbs of Thousand Oaks", the friend said. It was the worst mass-shooting in US history.

"It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out", Nick Steinwender, who had friends inside, told local TV station KABC.

The Los Angeles Times quoted a law enforcement official as saying that at least 30 shots were fired inside the bar. Dean said Helus was the first to go in and was immediately hit with multiple gunshots. It's unclear whether the magazine was legally purchased.

President Donald Trump, who has resisted a surge in calls for tougher gun controls since 17 students were shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier this year, said on Twitter that he had been "fully briefed on the bad shooting in California".

A police officer is among the wounded in the mass shooting at the Borderline bar in the city of Thousand Oaks near Los Angeles, reports say.

The police officer was injured when he arrived at the scene with colleagues and "attempted to neutralize the threat", Ventura County Sheriff's Office Capt. Garo Kuredjian said.

"He died a hero", Dean said. Their ages range from 18 to 33 - a reflection of the crowd drawn to the "College Country Night" at the bar. Once safely outside, the uninjured hugged and awaited word about those still inside.

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Cody Coffman, 22, Justin Meek, 23, and Alaina Housley have also been named as victims of the mass shooting.

The killer was identified as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former United States marine with mental health issues, with investigators trying to find the motive for the attack at a venue hosting a country music evening for students.

The assailant, identified as Ian David Long, a troubled former machine gunner who served a tour in Afghanistan, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"They felt he might be suffering from PTSD, the fact he was a veteran and had been in the Corps", Dean said. Long was among the dead, but it's unclear whether or not he took his own life or if he was killed by police.

Police have not identified a motive. Investigators are working out the details of what transpired, Dean added.

He said the motive of the shooting and the identity of the shooter were not known. A mental health crisis team was called at the time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody. The extent of the victim's injuries has not yet been released.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Thursday morning that he was "fully briefed" on the shooting. According to the Times, he called his wife before entering the bar.

Sgt. Ron Helus's wife Karen could be seen dressed in black behind a hearse carrying her husband's coffin as it left the Los Robles Medical Center Thursday morning.

The U.S. Marine Corps issued a statement extending "its deepest condolences to the families of the victims in this senseless tragedy". This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

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