28-year-old man used smoke device, .45-caliber handgun in California bar shooting

- A law enforcement official says authorities have identified the gunman and the handgun he used to kill 12 people at a Southern California bar.

The official told The Associated Press the man was 28 years old and deployed a smoke device and used a .45-caliber handgun when he opened fire inside the Borderline Bar & Grill late Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.

The official declined to provide any other details, speaking on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to publicly discuss the investigation.

Authorities and witnesses say the gunman wore dark clothing and didn't say anything as he fired inside the bar. Hundreds of people fled, some breaking windows and jumping out of second-floor windows to escape.

Terrified revelers used used barstools to break second-floor windows and jump to safety to escape the dance bar, where the gunman was later found dead. Those killed in the shooting Wednesday night also included 11 people inside the bar and a sheriff's sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. 

"It's a horrific scene in there," Dean told a news conference in the parking lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill. "There's blood everywhere."

The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at a Parkland, Florida school nine months ago. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. That, it turn, closely followed the series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, CNN and former officials critical of President Donald Trump.

Trump said Thursday on Twitter that he has been "fully briefed on the terrible shooting." He praised law enforcement, saying "Great bravery shown by police" and said "God bless all of the victims and families of the victims."

The gunman at the dance bar was tall and wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations at the scene. He first fired on a person working the door, then appeared to open fire at random at the people inside, they said. 

Many more people had minor injuries, including some that came from their attempt to flee, Dean said. 

Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman were responding to several 911 calls when they arrived at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m., the sheriff said. They heard gunfire and went inside. 

Helus was immediately hit with multiple gunshots, Dean said. The highway patrolman cleared the perimeter and pulled Helus out, and then waited as a SWAT team and scores more officers arrived. Helus died early Thursday at a hospital.

By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped. They found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman. It's not yet clear how the gunman died, Dean said. 

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the suspect's age as 29.

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