"Multiple fatalities" in shooting at bar in Thousand Oaks, California

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Authorities say there were multiple injuries - including one officer - after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday.

A gunman killed 12 people, including a police officer, when he opened fire in a country music bar packed with college students in California, officials and witnesses said Thursday.

Long was in the Marines from 2008 to 2013, rose to the rank of corporal and served in Afghanistan in 2010-11, the military said.

At a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said that Helus died as "a hero". Helus was a 29 veteran of the force who had planned to retire in the next year.

"What I'm scared of is Cody went towards the action and not away from the action", he said. It is believed he took his own life.

"It's a horrific scene in there". "There is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that". Witnesses described a rapid sequence of shots that it made them think he was using a semi-automatic weapon.

"I look up - the security guard is dead".

Helus is survived by his wife and son.

"It's a big thing for us", he said, explaining he was with several people who were also with him in Las Vegas.

"Borderline was our safe space after, for lack of a better term, it was our home for the probably 30 or 45 of us who are all from the greater Ventura County area who were in Vegas".

The station said one person was seen - apparently lifeless - on the ground outside the bar's entrance.

People at the bar fled from all exits, broke through windows and hid in the attic and bathrooms, the sheriff said.

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Authorities are investigating reports that the gunman used a smoke bomb but said they had not found anything to support this.

"We've known a lot of these people for upwards of 10, 15 years; we grew up with them", he said.

The shooting happened on college night. The Western-style bar hosts theme nights such as country, salsa and swing dancing.

At least 200 people were reportedly inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, which was hosting a university student night, at the time of the attack. "I don't know if she is alive", he said.

Dean said the other prior encounters were a traffic accident and an incident when he was the victim of battery at a bar. "I could still hear gunshots after everyone left", the Times quoted the man as saying.

"It just rings and rings", he said.

Walsh said that she had organized protests at her high school after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and that she's been rehearsing active shooter drills since elementary school. "Everyone was just trying to get out".

Coffman said he bonded with Cody over outdoor activities - he coached his son in baseball starting from age 3 and the two often went fishing together.

"The University offers its deepest condolences and is praying for everyone involved in tonight's tragic events", it tweeted.

"This is a very close-knit community", Kuredjian said, adding that Thousand Oaks - north and west of Los Angeles - is a "pro-law-enforcement community" as well. It's considered one of the safest cities with a population of more than 100,000 in the country, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics.

Dean said a mother recalled that the cops stood in front of her daughter to shield her from the gunfire.

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