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Thousand Oaks shooting: 'Multiple fatalities' after gunman opens fire in California bar

The Independent logo The Independent 8/11/2018 Tom Batchelor

Several people have been killed and around a dozen others injured in a shooting at a bar hosting an event for college students in California.

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A gunman reportedly used smoke grenades before firing into the crowd at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles, at 11.20pm local time.

“There are multiple fatalities,” said Eric Buschow of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, without giving a specific number. Authorities confirmed a police officer was among the 11 injured.

The suspect, described as a bearded man wearing a black trench coat and mask covering his face, was confirmed dead after being “engaged and neutralised” by police, Andrew Fox, mayor of Thousand Oaks, said.

:: Follow live updates on the shooting in Thousand Oaks ::

Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said there was no longer a threat to people living nearby after earlier saying the shooter may still be on the loose in what was "a very active scene".

Witnesses said the gunman shot a security guard standing at the door of the bar before entering the building and throwing "smoke grenades all over the place".

A female cashier was said to be among the injured after the gunman starting firing.

Several witnesses told ABC 7 the man was armed with a handgun. Others reported seeing a high-capacity magazine or "uzi-style" weapon.

California police official gives statement following Thousand Oaks shooting

At least 30 shots were fired before people inside the bar began using chairs to smash windows to escape, the witness said. Police said "hundreds" were inside when the shooting took place and the number of injured was likely to rise.

Teylor Whittler, 19, was on the dance floor when the shooting started. She said: "I heard the gunshot, turned around and saw him shoot a couple more times.

"Within a split second everyone yelled ‘get down’. I ran to where the back door is, and everyone dog-piled on top of each other. It was silent for a couple of seconds and then all of a sudden a couple of guys started running to the back door and said ‘get up he’s coming’.

"It was a huge panic, everyone tried getting up, and some guy came behind me, lifted me up and said ‘let’s go’. I got a bar stool thrown at my head because they were trying to use it to get out.”

Nick Steinwender, student body president at nearby California Lutheran University, rushed to the scene when he heard about a shooting at the bar where he knew friends and fellow students were inside.

"It was chaos, people jumping out of windows, people hopping over gates to get out," he told KABC-TV.

Father takes daughter away from Thousand Oaks shooting scene

Video showed casualties being carried away from the bar by members of the public and the emergency services.

Bomb squad and FBI teams have been called to the area and Swat units are in place although authorities said the bar was now safe to enter for emergency services.

Several people who hid in the attic of the building during the shooting were escorted out by police. Emergency services were seen searching the roof of the building.

Earlier, Ventura County Fire Department issued a statement saying: "Ongoing active shooter incident reported at Borderline in Thousand Oaks.

"Please stay away from area. Active law enforcement incident. Multiple injuries reported. Details still being determined. Multiple ambulances requested."

The website for Borderline bar showed that Wednesday nights are College Country Nights that last from 9 pm until 2am.

Thousand Oaks, a wealthy city home to several colleges and universities, is ranked as one of America's safest cities by the FBI.

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