Authorities believe they have identified the suspect in the Thousand Oaks, California, shooting, according to a law enforcement source.
The source cautions information is early: But the suspect is believed to be 29 years old.
Multiple Pepperdine University students were at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks during the shooting, the university said in a statement.
Pepperdine will hold classes today as scheduled and encouraged students who need to adjust their schedules because of the shooting to do so.
“University officials have been working on site with law enforcement to confirm their safety and well-being, and our prayers and condolences are with everyone impacted by this senseless act of violence,” Pepperdine said in the statement.
A procession for slain deputy Sgt. Ron Helus is being planned for 1 p.m. ET, Capt. Garo Kuredjian, spokesperson of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, tells CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS.
The procession will start at Los Robles Hospital and end at the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Sgt. Helus was killed after entering the Borderline Bar & Grill during last night’s shooting. Helus died at a hospital, police said.
“He went into save lives, to save other people.” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said of Helus, his voice breaking at a news conference early Thursday.
People gather as close as they can to the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Nov. 8, 2018 as police vehicles closed off the area responding to a shooting.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to make sense of last night’s shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill, as they cope with the death of a longtime sheriff’s sergeant, Capt. Garo Kuredjian said.
It’s unclear if all the victims inside the bar have been identified or if all of their families have been notified, he said.
“It’s absolutely horrific,” he told CNN affiliate KABC. “If you can imagine young people out on a Wednesday night, having a good time, at a bar they’ve probably been to many times. Thousand Oaks, one of the safest cities in the United States, and something like this happens. We’re trying to make sense out of the senseless, it’s absolutely tragic.”
The shooting was reported at 2:19 a.m. ET inside the bar in Thousand Oaks, Kuredjian said.
Minutes later, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus entered the bar and was immediately met by gunfire, he said,
Helus, who was set to retire in the next year, was injured and died at a hospital.
“He is absolutely a hero. He leaves behind a wife and a son, he was a 54-year-old resident of Moore Park, he epitomized what a cop does, he was a cop’s cop,” Kuredjian said. “When he heard the gunfire he ran in, he ran in and no doubt saved others from being victimized. A young man who was inside the club came up to me and said, ‘You know what? He saved additional people from being victims.’ That’s what cops do. That’s what he did.”
At this point, authorities still have no information on the suspected gunman.
“I can guarantee that’s our priority one, to identify him, to try to see what motivated him to do such a senseless act,” Kuredjian said.
It was a regular Wednesday night when Cody Coffman said goodbye to his dad Jason Coffman before walking out the door to meet friends. Cody, 22, hasn’t been heard from since the shooting unfolded at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
He recounted how he was alerted to the situation by some of his son’s friends who had been with him at the dance club.
“Some of his girlfriends got out but they didn’t know where Cody was,” he explained.
The anxious father is now at a centre where parents have been told to go to await information. He said there are around 20 to 25 people facing the same grueling wait.
Jason Coffman told CNN that he’s been calling his son’s cell phone but it just rings out. He added that Cody has a tracking app on his phone which has confirmed that he was at the club
“It’s there, it’s not moving, that’s the problem. … His phone is at the club. All I can say is please say a prayer for the victims and for the loved ones that are where I’m at. We’re just in a holding pattern here,” he continued.
Rep. Jim Himes, whose home state of Connecticut endured the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, blasted inaction on gun violence after hearing about the mass shooting in California on Wednesday night.
He told CNN: “I’m embarrassed to say … my first thought was, ‘here we go again, it’s this week’s mass shooting,’ and that’s a really hard way to think about this. I contrast where we are today with how we all felt about Sandy Hook.”
“35,000 Americans dead a year as a result of gun violence and Congress can’t even find its way to studying the problem,” Himes said.
President Trump just tweeted that he has been “fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California.”
Here’s his full message:
21-year-old Taylor von Molt is a promoter for the Borderline Bar & Grill, where a mass shooting on Wednesday night left at least 12 people dead.
Speaking about the shooting to CNN, she recalled being on the dance floor when the gunfire started.
“…it’s a country bar so we were line dancing … and I heard what I thought was a balloon pop,” Von Molt told CNN by phone.
“I was confused because we didn’t have any balloons at the time… I turned around and saw him fire his weapon a couple of times and I ran to the nearest exit and tripped and fell on the way.”
Von Molt said that once out of the venue, she ran up a hill to a nearby apartment block where she was able to find shelter.
An unnamed woman who fled the Borderline Bar & Grill is hugged by relatives on Thursday morning.