At least 13 dead including gunman and police officer after mass shooting at bar in California
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At least 13 dead including gunman and police officer after mass shooting at bar in California

AT LEAST 13 people have been killed in a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

Numerous people were shot, including a sheriff's deputy, when a gunman opened fire at around 11.20pm (7.20am GMT) on Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar & Grill about 40 miles (65km) northwest of Los Angeles.

Authorities have confirmed the suspect is now dead, along with Sergeant Ron Helus - who had been due to retire in the coming year.

Police said at least 200 people were inside the bar attending a college country music night for students at the time.

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Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said the suspect shot himself dead before officers could get to him.

"It's a horrific scene in there. There's blood everywhere and the suspect is included in that," Sheriff Dean said.

"There were people hiding in restrooms, people hiding in attics to escape the shooter.

"It’s impossible to put any sense in the senseless. It tears at our hearts and emotions, and if we get to the point where it doesn’t there’s something wrong with us."

Ventura County Sheriff's office spokesman, Eric Buschow, said: "When deputies arrived they heard shots being fired, it was an active shooter situation.

"They entered the location and I can tell you there are multiple fatalities, multiple injuries, among the victims is one of our sheriff's deputies that responded in that initial call, as well as the shooter."

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Multiple witnesses said the suspect - who was masked and dressed in a trenchcoat - used smoke grenades and at least one handgun during the attack, and described people using chairs to break windows and flee from the scene.

One man who was inside the bar with his stepson as the shooting began told ABC7 Eyewitness News that he watched the suspect shoot numerous people.

"He fired the first shot. And I knew it was real. My son thought it was a joke, so I pulled him down and got some cover," the man said.

"I looked up, and [the gunman] was moving to the right. He shot the front doorman, who was just a young man. Then he shot the cashier, just a young girl."