Transcript for Special Report: Shooting in Thousand Oaks, California
across -- another crash involving the truck and a bicycle. We interrupt report on southern California. It is horrific. At least 12 people have been killed in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Ventura county. This was in Thousand Oaks California at the borderline bar and grill. There was a college country night happening when a lone gunman came in and began shooting. Among the 12 people killed, we've learned, a Ventura county sheriff's sergeant. He was responding to the shots fired and walked in and was shot within seconds by the gunman. We learned that the gunman is dead. Once officers made their way in, they found him. They're not sure if it was self-inflicted. This is still a very active investigation. All of this played out on a college night. It was a popular night at the biggest bar in Ventura county. All of these young people, you see them, they are emotional after the shooting. They were having a good time and country line dancing at the time when the gunman entered. Witnesses say he may have set off smoke grenades and just opened fire. 11 people, probably a lot of young people are killed inside the bar. The sheriff's deputy and highway patrol officers responded within three minutes. In addition, between 10 to 15 people were injured. Some of the gunshot wounds and some injured trying to escape. We've been hearing from witnesses who say they had to break out the windows using chairs to try to get out of this nightclub to safety. This gunman reloaded his handgun at least once. Investigators at the scene say they have only so far recovered one handgun. It is unclear if there were other weapons. They haven't found any of this point. But they believe this was the act carried out by a lone gunman. Reporter: -- Actually, we will pause for that. But we do have some people who were inside of the building when the shooting started. Here's what they had to say. We were just dancing on the floor and we heard a couple shots. I told her to get down, all of my friends to get down and we went behind, we stayed behind the stage and got out through the kitchen and went to the back door and she got out. And I went in and got some more people to get out. And we just tried to get out and get behind a car or get behind something. We just try to take cover. All he did was sit there and wait. And we just waited until the sheriffs came out. We were just hoping to get out and look for all of our friends. Did you see him at all? We were dancing and I saw someone walk in, and after that, I just saw the shots go off and I got them. It was such a blur. There was smoke, he was shooting everything from the speakers to anything he saw. We just saw smoke and shots. We just try to get down as fast as we could and to get out of there. You were dancing anywhere the shots and you jumped to the ground? Yes. There was a line dance going on. We got out and I heard the shots and everyone got down and started freaking out and running around. I told her to get down and get out. I said let's move we need to get out before anything happens. We don't know where the shots are coming from. That is all we just try to do was get ourselves out safely. What did you think the noises were? I knew that they were gunshots. I am prior military. I knew what they sounded like. I think anyone had a good idea what they were because everyone jumped to the ground pretty quickly. Everyone just trembled out as quick as possible. They broke windows and got out the kitchen. We got at about -- we got at the back gate. I know that some people knocked out the window with the stool. People went up to the attic above the bar. They destroyed to find any kind of cover in any way at all. Was going through your mind when he heard the shot? Just to get my friends out safely. Just to get them out. I just wanted her to get out safely and I didn't care what happened after that. Do you know what kind of weapon it was? I don't know. All I know is it was a semi automatic. We heard 18 to 20 rounds at a time before we got out. Reporter: That is an insane amount, we want to thank you for talking to us and telling us. The sheriff called this a tragic situation, saying multiple calls came in around 11:20 pacific time and one of the sheriff deputies as well as California highway patrol where there within moments. They were nearby. Reporter: We just heard from the sheriff's office. -- 11 victims were shot inside. We have a sheriff's sergeant who was killed. They told us that he died at the hospital about one hour ago. And then they told us that the suspect was found inside dead. When asked if they believe it was self-inflicted, they said it appears to be that way, but they are not saying that at this time. We know that the sheriff's sergeant was hit multiple times and was one of the first to respond. He responded with a highway patrol officer. The two of them went inside. He was hit multiple times in the highway patrol officer pulled him out. The sergeant's name was Ron heal us. He is survived by his wife and son. It was very emotional. He died a hero. They are also telling us at this point they have no idea if there is a terrorism like. -- Link. Just an absolutely horrific -- the sheriff got choked up talking about the sheriff. He was his gym buddy. He said right now that the focus on the other victims. There were so many other victims who were killed, and they were very young. But sergeant was expecting to retire next year. 29 year veteran of the force. That was difficult to hear, but the sheriff Jeffrey Dean said it was an horrific scene. He described his colleague as a hard-working, dedicated man who died a hero. The sheriff's sergeant from moorpark. There was a press conference moments ago with the sheriff who was fighting back tears. There were multiple other victims of different levels of injury inside that were rescued from the scene and taken to local hospitals. In addition to the victims inside, the numbers are upwards of 10 to 12, additional victims with minor injuries fled the scene on their own and took themselves to local hospitals. The sergeant passed away at the hospital about one hour ago. I only mention it might be terrorists, there is no reason for it when we have this horrific death. I have nothing to lead me to believe or the FBI that there is any link to terrorism, but we certainly will look at the option. Losing Ron, we go to the gym and work out together, it's horrific and terrible and it saddens our heart, but there are parents of those 11 other victims and their whose hearts are ripped out tonight. And parents are wondering, was one of my children in there? Or was my sister or my brother? So there is no way to describe this. It saddens us all and tears at our hearts and emotions and if it doesn't, there is something wrong with us. There you have Jeff Dean speaking. He mentioned it is something that we have not become accustomed to, but it happens a lot. The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was only 12 days ago. There was a shooting at a yoga studio that killed two people last weekend and several people were shot and now again, this has happened in America. In Ventura, Thousand Oaks California 40 miles from los Angeles. Investigators still have not identified the gunman, but it is something that they are working to do at this point. It was absolutely horrific and there are hundreds of people inside line dancing on the dance floor when this gunman came in. Let's hear from one of the witnesses. I was to the front door and talking to my stepdad, and I started hearing these pop sounds. There were three or four and I hit the ground. I looked up at the security guard was dead or I don't want to say dead, but he was shot and down. And the gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back of the cash register. He just kept firing. I ran out the front door. I heard chairs being thrown out the window and people were trying to get out the windows. The gunman went behind the cash register, there were probably 12 shots before I got out the front door. And I go out and I come back in to see if my stepdad was okay and I heard him yelling and I ran, but the gunman had a beard and he looked, Middle Eastern or so, he wore a hat and black jacket. I think he had glasses, like prescription glasses. He had a big handgun, I mean, shots were just firing. I was closest, the security guard was closest to the front door, the two people behind the cash register were close and I was the next person closest to the front door. I thought it was a joke. When the shots started firing. And I just, I don't, I know people there. I don't know how I didn't get shot. You come here a lot? Yes. Here and there. It is a local spot. It is one of maybe three. Reporter: You knew more people inside? My friend that works behind the bar wasn't working tonight, but from what I've been told, there are still people inside and it is an active shooter. It is no longer an active shooter situation. The interview was from earlier. The gunman is now dead. Want to go on the line, you been talking some of these witnesses -- you've been talking to some of these witnesses, share some of these horrific stories you been hearing at the scene. It looks like the last group of people who were on scene are mostly, sadly, parents of loved ones who they have yet to hear from. That is just the next kind of got punch of this awful story, to learn who the 11 families are and find out what they are dealing with, knowing that whoever went to this bar tonight is not coming home. The interview that you just ran, that was the first person they encountered on the scene and I asked him if he was okay, he so clearly was not okay. His eyes were as red as I've ever seen anyone's, and he was clearly in shock. He was there with his father-in- law and at times during the interview with his father-in- law, he went over to console him. These people are coming out and reliving the experiences. How do you tell someone that just went through this that they are going to be dealing with this for so long? His father-in-law had survivor's guilt saying he could've done more. And we hear the toll it has taken, 12 are dead including the sheriff's deputy, the sheriff's sergeant. And you think of the dozen more injured, those who were jumping out windows and running out the back door or trampled. One girl said when everyone hit the floor, there was a pile of bodies trying to seek shelter however they could. This is an event that will live with a lot of people for a long time. I'm sure they did everything they could to try to get out and to safety, didn't they? Yes. Some people we talked to where by the front door and ran out immediately. Others were on the dance floor at the time and where simply lying on the ground. It provides no shelter, but someone yelled get down. Everyone got to the floor. Only when the gunman reloaded, there was a break in the gunfire and they were able to run out the back door, smash windows with chairs, we spoke to a young man who still had blood on his shirt who took a chair and threw it through a window so other people could escape and get out as fast as they could. I asked a couple people, they heard people panic and there weren't many screams, it was almost pretty quiet as they were going through this. And but there definitely was a sense of panic knowing exactly what it was. Everyone knew from the start what was happening, what the noise that they heard was. It was clearly gunfire. And just to do whatever they could to get out of there. Just random gunfire from eyewitnesses, it didn't appear to be a specific target. Investigators don't know the motive and have not identified the 11 people that were killed inside. They don't have an age range. But it is safe to presume that at least some of them were very young. It was an 18+ night. This was at the borderline bar at the college night. I know this is about 40 minutes from la. This is a town called Thousand Oaks and this bar is well known in the college circuit. There is a local college in town, but also kids were coming from further west into Ventura county and back east into la county, Santa Clarita as well. This was a bar that was, this is known by young people on a Wednesday night as a place to be, and the first we got from the sheriff's office was that there were hundreds inside. This was a well-known bar that was packed with people having fun, not expecting on a Wednesday night that their life would be turned upside down as it has been, and we do know that 11 attendees were shot and killed in the 12th was the sheriff's sergeant. A 29 year veteran of the department who was planning to retire in the next year. He ran into the building upon arriving on scene and hearing gunfire. He thought there something he could do and ran into danger and was immediately struck by several bullets. On entering the door, there was a California highway patrolman who entered with him and pulled his body out. He is the 12th victim of the shooting. Of course, the shooter is dead, so 13 in all as of now. The Ventura county sheriff said the sergeant died a hero because he went into save lives and he shared that with the sergeant's wife. We know that there are multiple agencies at the scene. FBI and ATF as well as local agencies. Tell us about the scene right now. It is tough. Some of the last few survivors that we saw were a pair of girls walking down the middle of the street in blankets. It is a cold night, not as cold as the east coast, but it has dipped down into the 40s which on the west coast is pretty chilly at night. So we have a lot of people in T- shirts and shorts looking for jackets or cover or whatever they could get and a mass of media in the middle of the roadway and just family and friends hoping upon hope that at this point, hours after the fact that they haven't heard from their loved one that maybe someone is in the hospital unable to respond or they've lost the phone or somersaulting. But for those who haven't heard from loved ones, they are running out of time, they just sense the emotion from the sheriff who was friends with the sergeant. His voice was breaking up a couple times when recounting what happened. And the relationship with his friend. And it is a tough night in Thousand Oaks. They join a long list of cities around the United States that are experiencing this heartbreak. A long list of cities in the last week. Tallahassee and Pittsburgh 12 days ago. That is it for this special report. Continuing coverage on good morning America. This is breaking news from
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.