Ian David Long, 28, is believed to have been the gunman. The suspect was later found dead inside the bar.
Deputies say many people fled the bar after shots rang out. Another witness said the gunman wielded what looked like a sub-machine gun. "We have no idea what the motive was at this point".
Law enforcement has not confirmed witness reports that Long set off smoke bombs at the bar.
"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant", Dean said. However, mental health specialists who were called in "talked to him, and cleared him".
One of the people who survived this shootingtold CBS station KCBS-TV he survived the Las Vegas shooting previous year.
Pepperdine University said some of its students were at the bar, and it's working to identify them.
He said he has no doubt Helus' tactics at the scene "were sound when he went in". Long was among the dead, but it's unclear whether or not he took his own life or if he was killed by police. At least 10 to 15 others were injured.
Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears. "When you call 911, he's one of the guys you want showing up".
"Obviously he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this."
The sheriff said it was only three minutes later that Helus made entry to the bar with two California highway patrol officers. "For me, this is a heart that I'll never get back".
The gunman was tall and wearing all black with a hood over his head and his face partly covered, witnesses told TV stations at the scene. I hear chairs being thrown out the window.
CBS L.A. said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were seen entering the bar. "I think that there were bullets hitting around me".
"I started hearing these big pops". "The windows broke and I just hopped out the window and I was one of the last people out", Campbell said.
Holden Harrah, a young man who saw the incident, cried as he told CNN that a place where he goes every week to have fun with friends had been a scene of carnage.
He said he heard from people inside that they were hiding in toilets and the attic of the bar.
"Before it happened it was just a normal Wednesday night, just having a good time and as soon as it all started, it just went to utter chaos real quick", Cole Knapp said.
Thirteen people have died, including a gunman and a sheriff's sergeant, after a mass shooting at a California bar popular with college students, police said.
"The University offers its deepest condolences and is praying for everyone involved in tonight's tragic events", it tweeted. Dean told reporters that there was no indication the suspect was targeting bar employees. "It's not moving. That's the problem", said Coffman, who was awaiting information at a center for relatives. "I don't know if she is alive", he said. "This is my firstborn son and it's tough". I ran out the front door. "That's the kind of boy Cody is", he said.
The city of about 130,000 people is around 40 miles (64km) west of Los Angeles. Add Thousand Oaks Shooting as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Thousand Oaks Shooting news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
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