13 DIE IN STUDENT MASSARE
...gunman fired at a bar packed with college students in southern California
CALIFORNIA - AT least 13 people died, including a sheriff's sergeant and the gunman, after a shooting inside a bar packed with college students in southern California, the Ventura County sheriff's office said.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said yesterday sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building in Thousand Oaks. He died at a hospital early yesterday.
Authorities did not say how the gunman died.
Dean said around 10 other people were shot and wounded. No other information on the victims was immediately known.
Ventura County Sheriff's Office Captain Garo Kuredjian said the first reports of shots fired came around 11:20pm at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, which is about 50km west of Los Angeles.
The bar's website says its hosts "College Country Night" every Wednesday. Police said hundreds were inside when the shooting occurred.
Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds, reporting from Washington, DC, said the bar was packed with college students before the gunman forced his way in.
"The gunman used an automatic weapon and also threw in some sort of smoke bombs into the crowd in the club," he said.
Police had told the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 shots were fired at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
An unnamed source told reporters that a victim managed to escape through the window of the bar.
"He told us how he broke a couple of windows and him and his friends helped push women out to save them first.
His hand was cut up and he has blood on his face. His friend was shot in the shoulder," the witness said. The extent of the victims' injuries has not yet been released. Law enforcement and emergency crews were flooding the scene.
Authorities urged the public to avoid the area.
INJURED: An injured man who appears to have been shot is rushed to safety at the Borderline Bar and Grill.
LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Witnesses (pictured sharing a blanket after escaping the tragedy) had to use chairs to smash the windows of the bar to escape.