Ventura County sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian said hundreds of people were inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at 11:20 p.m., and shots were still being fired when deputies arrived. Authorities found him dead inside an office adjacent to the bar's entryway, Dean said.
Helus was having a conversation with his wife on the phone at the time he got the call about the shooting, as he does several times during his the shift, according to Dean. "It can happen anywhere".
Dean said the other prior encounters were a traffic accident and an incident when he was the victim of battery at a bar.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene as panicked patrons smashed windows to get out. Terrified customers began shattering windows in an attempt to escape.
On Thursday, authorities provided an update on the shooting. Law enforcement and emergency crews were flooding the scene. Investigators didn't immediately know how many rounds the magazine could hold, he said. The gun was legally purchased, he added.
People comfort each other after the shootings in Thousand Oaks, California, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles. Sheriff's Office has confirmed the shooter is among the dead.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean says sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus responded to the scene and was shot after he entered the building.More news: Nintendo to remove offensive Native American designs from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
"He probably should have retired a couple years ago, he could have, but he stayed on because he loved the fight", Novak said.
"He died a hero", Dean said. "He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero".
Officials have not released the names of all the victims as they worked to notify the families.
Nick Steinwender, who is part of the university's student government, said his friends were inside the bar when the shooting started.
Once safely outside, those who were uninjured hugged and cried, traumatized and anxious about the others still inside.
One of the people who survived this shooting told CBS station KCBS-TV he survived the Las Vegas shooting past year.
Authorities have identified the suspect who killed 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as 28-year-old Ian David Long. A machine gunner who attained the rank of corporal, he served about seven months in Afghanistan, from November 2010 to June 2011. Dean told reporters that there was no indication the suspect was targeting bar employees.More news: Trump BLOWS UP at Jim Acosta: 'You are a rude, awful person'
"We have called in our bomb team to go through and a couple of bomb dogs here that are checking the area", Dean said.
Federal Bureau of Investigation officials were seen visiting a residence believed to be Long's in Newbury Park, California, which neighbors Thousand Oaks.
President Donald Trump said in a tweet Thursday morning that he was "fully briefed" on the shooting.
"Great bravery shown by police".
A Highway Patrol officer pulled Helus out and waited for reinforcements. Sergeant Helus was taken to a local hospital where he died from his wounds.
Justin Meek was identified as a victim by family to ABC7 News.More news: Thugs of Hindostan movie tweet review
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