Authorities: Gunman shoots 11 at California bar

Authorities: Gunman shoots 11 at California bar

Authorities: Gunman shoots 11 at California bar

But on Wednesday, Helus and a California State Highway Patrol trooper were the first responders to the shooting at the bar in Thousand Oaks filled with almost 200 college students, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Police who responded to reports of a shooting rushed to the scene and engaged the gunman. Accompanied by a California Highway Patrol officer, Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus entered the bar through the front door and "was struck multiple times with gunfire", Dean said. He says Helus was later declared dead at a hospital.

Authorities said he was about a year from retirement.

The sergeant had a wife and son, according to Dean, who said he was longtime friends with Helus. He gave his all.

"He died a hero", Dean said.

There were hundreds of people packed inside Borderline Bar and Grill when a gunman burst inside throwing smoke grenades and firing dozens of rounds, witnesses and authorities said.

"He went in to save lives - to save other people", Dean told the Thousand Oaks Acorn, also calling Helus a "hard-working, dedicated Sheriff's Sergeant".

No fatalities have been reported and the Ventura County Star said that at least four ambulances were at the scene to treat the victims. The bar was hosting a college country music night.

Witnesses tell CBS Los Angeles the gunman first opened fire at a bouncer and a cashier before shooting in the vicinity of the dance floor.

"It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, hopping over gates and just trying to get out", he said.

It is thought the gunman may still be at large and at least police officer is injured. "He went in to save lives, to save other people". The sheriff said a mental health crisis team was called at the time and concluded Long did not need to be taken into custody.

Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks is a western-themed establishment known to regularly host country, salsa and swing dancing nights. He says he fled through an exit door to a closed patio where he told people "everybody get over the fence as quickly as you can", and followed them over.

Social media accounts vary widely about details of the shooting, other than a man with beard and wearing a dark trenchcoat walked in started shooting. Law enforcement and emergency crews were flooding the scene.

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