Survivors broke windows with barstools to escape gunman in California: reporter
Thousand Oaks prides itself on being among the safest places in U.S., says Joe Curley
Patrons threw barstools through windows in a desperate attempt to escape a gunman at a country-and-western bar in southern California late Wednesday.
"The gunman burst through the front of the bar, shot up the front of the bar, and did his damage there," said Joe Curley, a reporter for the Venture County Star and the USA Today Network.
"The rest of the place, about 600 people, were picking up stools and furniture and anything they could, to break through the glass in the back of the bar to escape," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
"Many of them were injured as they did so, on the glass, but they survived."
Curley spoke to Tremonti from the scene of the shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Hundreds of people were attending a college night at the Borderline Bar & Grill — about 65 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles — when the gunman opened fire Wednesday night. The first shots were reported around 11:20 p.m. PT
Eleven people died inside the bar, as well as the gunman and a sheriff's sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Dean said that Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force who was to retire soon, was shot as he arrived on the scene and died in hospital early Thursday.
"Thousand Oaks prides itself on being one of the safest places in California, and certainly one of the safest places in the country," Curley said.
"A lot of people who are still sleeping now, are going to wake up this morning seeing their hometown in a different light."
Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.
With files from The Associated Press. This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley.