Sheriff Vet Killed Responding to Calif Shooting - Police Depts Pay Tribute

Officials say the suspect, who has not been identified, was found dead inside.

The gunman also died, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told a news conference on Thursday.

"When the officers went in and made re-entry, they found him already deceased", Dean said, according to ABC 6. "It can happen anywhere".

Sgt Helus was immediately hit with multiple gunshots, Mr Dean said.

The massacre was the latest shooting rampage in the United States amid a fierce debate over gun control.

The gunman was tall and wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations. Some threw barstools through windows to escape.

An American flag hung on the garage at Long's home on Thursday as law enforcement gathered outside. It's unclear whether the magazine was legally purchased.

The incident in California came two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people and injured seven at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while Shabbat morning services were being held.

The venue in the quiet, upscale Thousand Oaks suburb had been hosting an event for college students, with possibly several hundred young people in attendance, Captain Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's office said earlier.

A police officer, described as a sheriff's sergeant, and the gunman are among the 13 confirmed to have died. Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first to arrive at the bar and went inside just before 11:30 p.m. PST (0730 GMT).

Long shot an unarmed security guard outside the bar before going inside, where he fired on security staff, CNN reported.

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Dean said the slain deputy was on the phone with his wife before telling her he had to go respond to a scene.

Numerous patrons were local students from nearby California Lutheran University, ages 19 to 25, attending "College Country Night". Once safely outside, the uninjured hugged and awaited word about those still inside.

"He's pretty devastated", said Kenney, who attends a local high school. "One bar stool and straight through a window", he told reporters. He was deployed to Afghanistan from November 16, 2010 to June 14, 2011, the Marine Corps said.

Deputies were called to Long's house in response to a disturbance in April, 2018 and "felt he might be suffering from PTSD", he said.

Police have not identified a motive. Investigators are working out the details of what transpired, Dean added. But a mental health professional who spoke with Long said he did not believe Long needed to be hospitalized. The extent of the victim's injuries has not yet been released.

"The fact that he was the first in the door doesn't surprise me at all", sheriff's Sgt. Eric Buschow said Thursday.

"Great bravery shown by police", Trump tweeted. He told the Reuters news agency that he saw the shooter enter the bar and stop at the counter.

"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant".

The U.S. Marine Corps issued a statement extending "its deepest condolences to the families of the victims in this senseless tragedy".

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