Twelve people were killed and 18 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, during the country music-themed restaurant's weekly college night.
The shooting occurred as hundreds of students and others from the area packed the popular bar. A motive for the attack is not yet known. You can read more about the shooting and the gunman here.
You can click through this gallery to see the names and photos of the victims who have been identified so far, along with stories about who they were.Friends and family members have started to identify the victims killed in the shooting.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office says one of its deputies, Sergeant Ron Helus, is among the dead. Helus, 54, was a 29-year veteran of the department and a married father who was planning to retire next year. Helus was killed while rushing into the bar to try to save the lives of other people and is being hailed as a hero.
The other 11 victims have also been identified: Cody Coffman, Justin Meek,Alaina Housley, Telemachus Orfanos, Daniel Manrique, Sean Adler, Noel Sparks, Kristina Morisette, Jake Dunham, Blake Dingman and Mark Meza Jr.
Ventura County authorities described a "horrific" scene with "blood everywhere" in the hours after the shooting, which occurred about 11:20 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks bar. Witnesses say the gunman entered the bar and used some sort of smoke device before opening fire, shooting a security guard, a bar employee and into the crowded dance floor.
In the chaos, bar patrons used stools to smash through windows to escape the building, while others hid in bathrooms and an attic area until police searched the building. Bloodied survivors fled to a gas station and a nearby bar.
The country music-themed bar is located near the 101 Freeway off Moorpark Road. The college night begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. every Wednesday, according to the bar's website. Several colleges are located near the bar, including California Lutheran University, California State University Channel Islands, Pepperdine University and Moorpark College.
The popular restaurant is 18 and over on college nights, according to the bar's website. According to its website, the bar has been open in Thousand Oaks since 1993, after originally opening in Malibu. It describes itself as being the "Largest Country Dance Hall & Live Music Venue" in Ventura County, with 2,500 square feet of dance floor.
The bar also has pool tables, games, TVs and hosts live music and dance lessons.
"I was at the front door and I was talking to my stepdad. I just started hearing these big pops," John Hedge told KABC. "Pop, pop, pop. There was probably three or four, I hit the ground. I look up - the security guard is dead. Well, I don't want to say he was dead, but he was shot. He was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back of the cash register...and he just kept firing. I ran out the front door."
"I thought it was a joke when the shots started firing. I know people there. I hope everybody's OK. I don't know how I didn't get shot," John Hodge told KABC. His stepfather, Tim, said young people were enjoying the night in the bar when the "just having a great time when this maniac came in and started shooting people for no reason at all. These people have never hurt anybody in their lives and they're just kids, they're just kids."
Witnesses have said many people at the bar also attended the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017, where 58 people were killed and 851 were injured during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“A lot of people in the Route 91 situation go here,” Chandler Gunn, 23, told the Los Angeles Times. “There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice.”
Carl Edgar, who came to the scene after hearing about the shooting, told the Times, "As far as I know, all of my friends are OK, safe. There are a few people we can’t get a hold of, but in these situations people usually turn off their phones to be safe so I’m not gonna get too worried. A lot of my friends survived Route 91. If they survived that they’ll survive this.”
GoFundMe has confirmed a verified fundraiser campaign has been started to help the victims who survived the shooting and the families of those who were killed. The funds are being collected by the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, where Borderline Bar & Grill owner Brian Hynes is a member.
"While details are still unfolding, we wanted to provide an avenue to all who are struggling to find a way to help," Jeanne Murphy wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Please respond to this hateful act with your act of love today. Any donation will be much appreciated. This fundraiser is meant to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of this tragic Thousand Oaks mass shooting."
You can read about each of the victims and see their photo by clicking through the gallery, or you can click on his or her name in the list below to go to directly to the individual tribute page: