'He died a hero:' Sheriff's sergeant dies in California bar mass shooting

Dan Manrique

Dan Manrique

A gunman opened fire during college country night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California on November 7, killing 12 innocent people, including a sheriff's deputy who was expected to retire in just months, officials confirmed.

The intervention at the crowded venue late on Wednesday night was the final act of a 29-year career in law enforcement for Sergeant Helus, who was due to retire next year.

Police said the gunman was found dead inside the bar on the outskirts of Los Angeles although it was not immediately clear if he was killed by officers or shot himself.

"He gave his all ... he went in to save lives, to save other people", Dean said.

Dean said he did not know of his motive.

Police cars are seen outside a country music bar and dance hall in Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles, after a gunman barged into a large, crowded venue and opened fire late November 7, 2018, killing at least 11 people, U.S. police said. The bar was hosting a college country music night and was packed with students and other patrons.

But Dean said the gun had an extended magazine that is illegal in California.

It was the second mass shooting in less than two weeks, after a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue on October 27.

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Deputies were called to Long's house in response to a disturbance in April, 2018 and "felt he might be suffering from PTSD", he said. Nine months ago, another mass shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and teachers were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Forensics officers scour the scene at the Borderline Bar & Grill after the shooting.

He added that Thousand Oaks "is considered one of the safest cities in the country".

Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears. They found Long "somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally", Dean said.

In one such video, she interviewed Tim Dominguez, who recalled escaping the bar with his son as others lost their lives around them, including a responding sheriff's deputy. Jason Coffman told reporters Thursday that his oldest son, Cody Coffman, was killed.

Law enforcement agencies, firefighters and other first responders, along with several ambulances, additional units from the California Highway Patrol, Simi Valley and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reached the spot soon after the shooting was reported.

The father of one patron told CBS L.A. his daughter told him the gunman "knew what he was doing" and came in "with a goal".

Holden Harrah, a young man who saw the incident, cried as he told CNN that a place where he goes every week to have fun with friends had been a scene of carnage. "I don't know if she is alive", he said. They went to the house, they talked to him.

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