(Fox News) Without saying a word, a mysterious man in black clutching a semi-automatic pistol opened fire on a California bar packed with college students celebrating "country night" Wednesday — claiming the lives of at least 12 patrons, including a veteran sheriff's sergeant nearing retirement, before officers found the gunman dead.
Hundreds of people — including students from California Lutheran University, private Christian school Pepperdine University and California State University Channel Islands — were inside Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for the country music event when shots suddenly rang out at about 11:20 p.m., Ventura County police said. Police said at least 30 shots were fired and the gunman, armed with a .45-caliber handgun, used a smoke device to disorient and confuse his targets.
Deputies and highway patrolmen arrived at the bar within minutes of receiving multiple 911 calls and began assessing the grim, gruesome situation, Sheriff Geoff Dean said during an early Thursday press conference.
“It is a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere,” Dean said.