Washington: At least 12 people, including a police officer, were killed after a gunman forced his way into a popular bar in the US state of California and opened fire on people there.
Confirming the deaths, CNN quoted Sheriff Geoff Dean telling reporters that at least 12 people, including a police officer, were killed by a gunman who stormed the Borderline Bar & Grill bar and opened fire on people on Wednesday night
The suspected gunman was also found dead at the scene later, taking the death toll to 13, he added.
#UPDATE: Sheriff says 13 are dead including gunman, sheriff's sergeant after shooting at Southern California bar, reports The Associated Press
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2018
The bar, which is close to Los Angeles, was hosting an event for college students and possibly several hundred young people were inside, Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's office initially said.
Several people were reportedly injured in the shooting at the bar which is in the Thousand Oaks, California.
Police officers responded to the incident at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11.30 PM on Wednesday (0730 GMT Thursday).
The authorities later said the shooter was dead inside the venue and there were at least 200 people inside the bar attending a college country music night at the time of the incident, media reports say.
Officers said approximately 30 shots were fired, Ventura County Star reported.
Witnesses described a scene of panic in the bar when the gunman started firing. Some said they used chairs to break windows to escape while others sheltered inside toilets.
According to reports, the suspect may have used smoke grenades and at least one gun during the attack.
"A gentleman, who walked in through the front door, shot the girl that was right behind the counter," said Holden Harrah, who witnessed the shooting.
According to CNN, Thousand Oaks Mayor Andy Fox was informed of the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill around midnight, after which the law enforcement agencies responded quickly.
"It’s my understanding they went in and neutralized the shooter (and) they identified a number of causalities. I don’t know the condition of the victims but my understanding is there are a number (of) wounded included a local deputy … all of the victims have been transported to hospitals," Fox told CNN.
He reminded that Thousand Oaks "is considered one of the safest cities in the country, but this kind of incident can happen anytime, anywhere."
The dead gunman suspected of killing 12 people in the California bar was a decorated Marine Corp machine gunner deployed in Afghanistan who had several prior brushes with law enforcement, police and Marine officials said on Thursday.
Ian David Long was 28 years old and lived in Newbury Park, a prosperous suburb of Californian bungalows and tidy front lawns, about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the Borderline Bar & Grill where the shooting took place.
Long joined the Marines in 2008 and rose to the rank of corporal before leaving active service in 2013, Joseph Butterfield, a Marine spokesman, wrote in an email.
He served in the war in Afghanistan for seven months beginning in late 2010, the Marine Corp said, and was awarded multiple ribbons, commendations and medals.
(With Agency inputs)