THOUSAND OAKS, California — Local police said Thursday there were “multiple fatalities” after a gunman opened fire inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on “college night,” wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene, police said.
Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Eric Buschow said the gunman was dead inside the bar.
The sheriff’s spokesman said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20 p.m. at the bar in Thousand Oaks, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles. He said responding deputies could hear gunshots as they arrived on scene.
The Ventura County Star reported that “officers were advised that the suspect was a Middle Eastern man in his early 20s wearing all black clothing and with a beard.”
A man who said he was in the bar told ABC News that he saw a man shoot into the crowd.
Police told the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 shots were fired.
Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was inside the bar when a gunman walked in with his face partly covered by something resembling a ski mask, opened fire on a person working the door, then began to shoot people at random.
Scene near the #Borderline country and western bar in #ThousandOaks where a shooting incident with multiple victims is reported. Sheriff’s deputies say “active shooter” still in the area. pic.twitter.com/C2HNeqRel4
— Mike Harris (@Mike___Harris) November 8, 2018
“It was really, really really shocking,” Whitler told KABC-TV as she stood with her father in the Borderline parking lot. “It looked like he knew what he was doing.”
It was college night and country two-step lessons were being offered Wednesday at the Borderline, according to its website.
Thousand Oaks is a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, just across the county line.
Nick Steinwender, student body president at nearby California Lutheran University, rushed to the scene when he heard about a shooting at the bar where he knew friends and fellow students were inside.
“It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, people hopping over gates to get out” Steinwender told KABC.
He said he heard from people inside that they were hiding in bathrooms and the attic of the bar.