A gunman threw smoke bombs and rained bullets on a crowd of hundreds inside a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night, killing a dozen people including a Sheriff’s Department sergeant who was trying to stop the carnage.
An additional 18 victims who suffered injuries while trying to escape, but were not shot, were received at area hospitals in the hours after the shooting. US Authorities have not yet identified the gunman, who died in the incident, or any of the victims inside the bar.
A law enforcement source described the gunman as a 29-year-old armed with a handgun and a “smoke device.” The gunman was dressed in black when he burst into the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country-music-themed venue that is popular with college students, around 11:20 pm. The shooter drove his mother’s car to the bar and did not say anything before opening fire, the official said.
Witnesses reported a horrifying scene as gunfire echoed through the club and those inside ran for cover, in some cases using chairs to break windows to escape the building. Others hid in bathrooms and an attic as they frantically called loved ones who were hearing reports of the shooting.
A motive in the shooting was not immediately clear, but a police officer said there was no evidence linking the attack to terrorism. Police believe the shooter used a handgun in the attack.