Death Toll in California Shooting Rises to 13
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At least 13 people, including a sheriff's deputy and the gunman, were confirmed to have been killed in a shooting in a nightclub in southern California.
Ventura County sheriff Geoff Dean said among the victims was sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus, who responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building and died at a hospital early Thursday local time.
"It's a horrific incident," Dean said. "It's part of the horrors that are happening in our country and everywhere."
Dean said Sgt Helus was a 29-year veteran of the police force who had planned on retiring soon. He is survived by a wife and son.
Witnesses reported a black-clad shooter hurled smoke bombs into the restaurant as he let loose a fusillade of shots.
Hundreds of people, including college students, were in the Borderline Bar And Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 64km west of Los Angeles, when the first reports of shots fired came about 11.20pm local time.
An official told The Associated Press the man was 29-years-old and deployed a smoke device and used a 45-caliber handgun.
Terrified customers began shattering windows in an attempt to escape and shots were still being fired when officers arrived.
"I just started hearing these big pops -pop, pop, pop. There was probably three or four," one young man told local television station KABC.