Pepperdine Students Among Those At Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting

MALIBU (CNS) - Pepperdine University said today several of its students were at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks when a gunman opened fire in an explosion of violence reported to have claimed 13 lives, including that of the shooter and a Ventura County sheriff's sergeant, and left around a score of others wounded.

School officials are working to identify and provide support to those students, according to a statement from the Malibu-based university. It was unclear if any of those killed or wounded were students at the school.

The university said it was in contact with appropriate governmental agencies and would provide updates as information became available.

Classes at the school will take place as scheduled, but students were encouraged to adjust their schedules if they were affected by the shooting, according to a statement from the school. A prayer service for the campus community is scheduled for today at noon in Smothers Theatre.

The suspect has been identified, but authorities have not released the man's name, according to CBS2. The man was 29-years-old and used his mother's vehicle to drive to the location, CBS2 said.

The Ventura County sheriff's department received multiple 911 calls around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday of shots fired at the bar and arrived, along with California Highway Patrol officers, three minutes later.

A sheriff's sergeant and CHP officer made their way into the establishment and the sergeant was shot multiple times and was pulled to safety by the officer, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.

The sergeant was identified as Ron Helus, a 29-year-veteran of the department who was looking to retire next year, said Dean, who called Helus a friend and gym workout partner.

“Ron was a hard-working, dedicated sheriff's sergeant,” Dean said. “He died a hero because he went in to save other people.”

At 10 a.m. a procession of law enforcement and first responders will escort Sgt. Helus' body from the Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office in Ventura, according to Capt. Garo Kuredjian.

Authorities found the suspect down with a gunshot wound, but it was unclear if the suspect took his own life or was killed by law enforcement, Dean said. A handgun was recovered at the scene. It was unclear if the mass shooting was linked to international terror.

At least 23 people were injured in the incident and have sought treatment at various hospitals in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Most suffered minor injuries, Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Brian McGrath told CBS2.

Witnesses told stories of people inside the bar using chairs to break windows and help others to escape the shooting.

Crews from the Los Angeles city and county fire departments provided support to Ventura County firefighters at the scene. County fire crews that responded were later cleared and released, according to a county fire dispatcher. It was unclear what type of support Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters provided.

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