UPDATE: Sheriffs deputy close to retirement dies in Thousand Oaks shooting

UPDATE: Sheriff\s deputy close to retirement dies in Thousand Oaks shooting
Horrific scene: 13 dead including gunman at California bar
The gunman who entered a Southern California bar Wednesday night and shot dead 12 people, including a sheriff's sergeant, before killing himself has been identified as U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ian David Long.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said Long, 28, was found dead in the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday. Dean said it's believed he killed himself.

“I tried to get as many people to cover as I could,” Knapp said. “There was an exit right next to me, so I went through that. That exit leads to a patio where people smoke. People out there didnt really know what was going on. Theres a fence right there so I said, Everyone get over the fence as quickly as you can, and I followed them over.”

Sheriffs sergeant Ron Helus died a hero in California shooting

A gunman opened fire around 11:20 p.m. PT at the crowded country-and-western bar about 65 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles, sending hundreds fleeing, including some who used barstools to break windows and escape. Police said hundreds were inside at the time.

Dean said his department had several previous contacts with Long, including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him angry and acting irrationally because of what authorities were told might have been PTSD. A mental health specialist met with him and didnt feel he needed hospitalization.

California shooting: Ian David Long identified as gunman who killed 12

Among the dead was sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, who was shot multiple times as he entered the building.

Dean said Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force who was set  to retire soon, died in hospital early Thursday.

"It's a horrific scene in there," Dean said during a news conference Thursday morning. "There's blood everywhere."

Dean said around 10 other people were injured and taken to local hospitals. Others had fled and taken themselves to hospital. People had been hiding in bathrooms and the attic of the bar, and some escaped by breaking windows, Dean said.

11 wounded after gunman opens fire during college night at California country bar

The mayor of Thousand Oaks said next-of-kin notifications are being prepared about the people who were killed and wounded.

Dean said Long had previous run-ins with police, including one instance in April where he acted “a little irrationally.” However, at the time, the police force’s mental health crisis team determined Long didn’t need to be taken into custody.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised police for their "great bravery" in the attack and ordered that flags be flown at half-mast at the White House and public buildings in the U.S., as well as at overseas diplomatic and military sites until Saturday evening, to honour the victims.

Democratic Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, in his first public appearance since winning office on Tuesday, lamented the violence that has come again to California.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Ventura Country Sheriff Geoff Dean said Long was found dead. Police believe he shot himself, but are not yet sure of the details that led to his death.

"It's a gun culture. It's a culture, and it's not about being Democrat or Republican," he said. "You can't go to a bar or nightclub? You can't go to church or synagogue? It's insane is the only way to describe it … It's become normalized."

Dean said Long was acting alone, armed with a Glock 21 — a .45-calibre handgun designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber. But the sheriff said the gun had an extended magazine that is illegal in California.

Long joined the marines in 2008. He served in the war in Afghanistan for seven months beginning in late 2010, the Marine Corps said, and was awarded multiple ribbons, commendations and medals.

"The rest of the place, about 600 people, were picking up stools and furniture and anything they could, to break through the glass in the back of the bar to escape," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Dean said his department had previous contact with Long, including a call to his home in April, when deputies found him behaving irate and irrationally.

About Your Privacy on this Site Welcome! To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads. Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices.

The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at that time and concluded that Long did not need to be taken into custody.

By clicking continue below and using our sites or applications, you agree that we and our third party advertisers can:

Other prior encounters were a traffic accident and an incident in which Long was the victim of battery at a bar.

Sgt Ron Helus was shot multiple times after entering the front door of Thousand Oakss Borderline Bar & Grill

Video: Mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California

Dean said there is nothing that would lead him to believe terrorism was the motive, but it has not been ruled out. Authorities hope to learn more when a search warrant is served at Long's home in the nearby community of Newbury Park. 

“I tried to get as many people to cover as I could,” Knapp said. “There was an exit right next to me, so I went through that. That exit leads to a patio where people smoke. People out there didn’t really know what was going on. There’s a fence right there so I said, ‘Everyone get over the fence as quickly as you can,’ and I followed them over.”

The gunman was tall and wearing all black with a hood over his head and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations at the scene. He first fired on a person working the door and then appeared to open fire at random at the people inside, they said.

People screamed and fled to all corners of the bar, while a few people threw barstools through the windows and helped dozens to escape, witnesses said.  

“It’s going to be a very sombre day,” Steinwender said. “I know we don’t have all the details in yet, but you know, it just feels like it’s an attack on our community. You know, I think it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to come together and move past.”

"I was just with friends and I saw the shooter walk in, and he reached up to the counter like he was going to put an ID or some money up on the counter to pay his cover charge," said Knapp, who lives nearby. "And I just kind of saw it in the corner of my eye and I heard a gunshot, and I focused on him and I saw that he was holding a handgun and he continued to shoot at the girl at the front desk."

People comfort each other as they sit near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on “college night,” wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Trump praises great bravery shown by police in California massacre

Tayler Whitler, 19, said she was on the dance floor and her friends were at a table by the door as the gunman opened fire. She said everyone yelled "Get down!" and it was silent for a couple seconds, then she heard "Get up, he's coming!" and people were trampling on each other to get out.

12 people, including police officer, killed in a California bar shooting

"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." 

Silikula said she heard the sirens of emergency vehicles two or three minutes later, then received a call from her daughter warning her that there had been a shooting.

Thousand Oaks shooting – Dozens injured and cop shot after gunman opens fire at California bar as revellers

John Hedge said that he and his stepfather were in the bar when the gunman opened fire. He told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that it had been like any other night, with the basketball game on in the background, when he heard "pop, pop, pop."

People comfort each other as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on “college night,” wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene. Ventura County sheriffs spokesman says gunman is dead inside the bar. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Video: Shooting survivor smashed clubs window to save others

"You just do what you can to try … to get out of eyesight and try to get some cover," he said.

I tried to get as many people to cover as I could, Knapp said. There was an exit right next to me, so I went through that. That exit leads to a patio where people smoke. People out there didnt really know what was going on. Theres a fence right there so I said, Everyone get over the fence as quickly as you can, and I followed them over.

The bar is a popular hangout for students from nearby California Lutheran University. It's also close to several other universities, including California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, Pepperdine University in Malibu and Moorpark College in Moorpark. The bar's website says it hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday.

This image made from aerial video show officers around a Police SUV in the vicinity of a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, early Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Authorities say there were multiple injuries – including one officer – after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday. (KABC via AP)

Cal Lutheran, with about 4,300 students, has cancelled classes and said on its website that the university community is invited to gather Thursday at the school's chapel.

The sheriff's office said a procession will take place at 10 a.m. to transport Helus via motorcade from Los Robles Hospital to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office in the city of Ventura.

Shootings of any kind are rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000. It was named the third safest city in the U.S. for 2018 by the website Niche.

Thousand Oaks, CA Shooting: 12 Dead After Gunman Opens Fire At Bar On College Night

"I've learned it doesn't matter what community you're in," Dean told reporters when asked if he was surprised this happened in Thousand Oaks. "It doesn't matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere."

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.