A former Marine - armed with a Glock 21.45-caliber handgun with an illegal extended magazine - opened fire on a packed California country music bar Wednesday night, killing 12 people, including a veteran sheriff's sergeant nearing retirement, officials said.
Helus, who lived in neighboring Moorpark with his wife and son, died at about 2 a.m.at a hospital. As per latest reports, authorities are saying that the gunman is dead after he injured at least 11 people.
Sheriff Geoff Dean, who choked back tears while talking about Helus, said his friend had been talking to his wife when the shootingcall came in.
Police said Long appeared to have shot randomly into the crowd at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 50km west of Los Angeles.
The Borderline bar is a popular spot for university students, and on Wednesday night was hosting College Country Night.
"It's a horrific scene in there", Dean said in the parking lot. When they realized what was occurring, some patrons used barstools to break a window and escape, according to the Associated Press.
The killer was identified as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old veteran who authorities said had an episode of erratic behavior last spring that was thought to be post-traumatic stress disorder because of his military background.
It was the second mass shooting in America in less than two weeks.
The massacre has rocked the city of Thousand Oaks - known for its sleepy bedroom community and low crime rates.
Ventura County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Eric Buchow told the station there were "multiple fatalities" and the gunman was dead inside.
Holden Harrah, a young man who saw the incident, cried as he told CNN that a place where he goes every week to have fun with friends had been a scene of carnage.
"I tried to get as many people to cover as I could", Knapp said.
Deputies are at Long's home, seeking to serve a search warrant, Dean said.
Officers were called to Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles, at around 11.20pm local time. A reporter spoke to a man who had not heard from his son.
She said she had planned to go with them but stayed behind to do some schoolwork instead. The highway patrolman cleared the perimeter and pulled Helus out, and waited as a SWAT team and scores more officers arrived.
Witnesses say the suspect was dressed in all black, and forced his way into the bar after first shooting the bouncer.
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