Twelve people have been killed at a country music bar in southern California after a masked gunman wearing all black opened fire on crowds of college kids before taking his own life with a semi-automatic handgun.
The shooter, who has not been named publicly but has been identified by police, stormed Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday at 11.20pm. He first shot the bouncer then opened fire on the crowds of youngsters who were there to enjoy a night of line dancing and country music.
As dozens ran for their lives, hid beneath pool tables and used bar stools to shatter the windows to escape, the shooter continued firing his Glock .45 that was legally bought in Ventura County.
He also threw smoke grenades to confuse the crowds.
When the first police officers arrived at the scene three minutes later, the gunman shot one of them multiple times before shooting himself. By the time SWAT teams arrived, he was dead. The sheriff's sergeant who was shot later died in hospital. He was Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran.
In total, 13 are dead; 11 people inside the bar, the sheriff's sergeant and the gunman. The gunman was 29 and drove his mother's car to the bar to carry out the attack.
He and another officer from California Highway Patrol arrived at the bar minutes after the first 911 calls came in.
The 'hardworking' officer, who was due to retire this year and leaves behind a wife and son.
An additional '10 to 15' victims were injured during the mass shooting, including the bouncer, a young female cashier and college students.
He looked like he knew what he was doing. He had practiced, he had been shooting before
Witness Teylor Whittler
The gunman shot himself before SWAT teams got inside. He was dressed in all-black, wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses and a mask covering the bottom part of his face.
He walked up to the entrance at 11.20pm and shot the bouncer before making his way into the venue. He then shot a young female cashier before throwing smoke grenades onto the dance floor and letting off rounds into the crowd.
The bar is popular with college kids because it allows under 21s in on Wednesday nights. Those who were not old enough to drink had black X's stamped on their hands.
Pepperdine University confirmed on Thursday morning that some of its students were among those in the bar. It is unclear if they were among those killed.
'The University has determined that multiple Pepperdine students were on site at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. At this time, the University is working to identify and provide support to those students.