At least 11 people were wounded, including a sheriff’s deputy, late Wednesday in a shooting at a country and western dance venue that was holding an event for college students in Thousand Oaks, Calif., officials said.
The Ventura County Fire Department said that “multiple injuries” had been reported at the Borderline Bar and Grill, and police officials said the gunman could still be at large.
— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) November 8, 2018
“There were shots fired at the Borderline Bar and Grill” at 11:20 p.m., said Capt. Garo Kuredjian, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. “As deputies responded, they also heard shots.” Additional units from the California Highway Patrol, Simi Valley and the F.B.I. responded, he said.
“It’s an active situation,” he continued. “We can’t consider this situation under control,” he said, adding that the gunman could still be alive.
Captain Kuredjian said he believed that about 100 people were inside the bar, which witnesses said was packed with young people who turned out for a college country music night.
The venue’s website says that for a quarter century, it “has stood as the Ventura County’s largest country dance hall and live music venue,” with more than 2,500 square feet of open dance space.
Video from the scene by ABC7.com showed rescue workers attending to one victim.
A witness interviewed by ABC7.com said that the gunman had walked up to the entrance to the bar, shot a security guard and a cashier, and deployed a smoke bomb.
“I just started hearing these big pops,” said the witness, a man who was not identified. “The gunman was throwing smoke grenades.”
Then, panic ensued inside the venue as people tried to flee.
“He just kept firing,” the witness said, adding that “people were trying to get out the window” to run away from the gunman, who was wearing a hat and a black jacket and had “a big handgun.”
Video from the scene showed police units from multiple departments swarming the area. A Twitter post showed tearful young people at the scene hugging each other.
Thousand Oaks, a relatively affluent city in Ventura County, is about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and near wealthy enclaves like Calabasas and Malibu.