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12 Dead Following California Mass Shooting


We are following breaking news out of Thousand Oaks, Calif., this morning. Thirteen people are dead after a shooting at a bar there. That's according to the Ventura County sheriff. NPR's Kirk Siegler is on the scene. He joins us live. Hi, Kirk.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: So the sheriff of Ventura County, Geoff Dean, gave a press conference not long ago. What did he say? What's the latest information?

SIEGLER: Well, what we know is, as you said, there are 11 victims from inside the bar and club who were killed as well as a sheriff's deputy who was one of the first responders. He was also killed. And the gunman was killed. It's still not clear what any of the motives are from the gunman. And the sheriff told us that, you know, this - there's no indication at this point that this is terrorism. But this being the era that we're in and this being the state of the country right now with all these mass shootings, he said that everything is being investigated. And he stood and talked with the FBI standing right behind him, who also responded here, as you can imagine, very quickly.

KING: So a lot of different types of worries. Is it still a fairly chaotic scene there?

SIEGLER: It's calming down a little bit. The authorities have contained the scene. I'm - you know, I'm looking out on quite frankly a very sobering and somber scene.

KING: Yeah.

SIEGLER: I'm looking in the middle of the intersection here at Moorpark Road at a couple of people who were inside the bar who are praying in the middle of the intersection. There are a lot of very distressed people. I just watched what I presume were some very worried parents and family members trying to get information over here to the right of me. That information isn't coming in yet. There are still people who don't know if their loved ones are OK.

KING: Well, you mentioned parents. I understand it was college night at the bar where this took place. And there were a lot of college kids there. We've been seeing images on television of very, very young people who look very, very distressed. And I know that you've been talking to some of them. What are they telling you about what happened?

SIEGLER: Well, that's - I've covered a lot of mass shootings at this point...

KING: Yeah.

SIEGLER: ...And it's an all-too-familiar scene. I have to tell you what the eyewitnesses are telling us. You know, they were there for the country music night, some sort of event. We don't know the full details of that yet. But there were a couple of students I talked to who were 19 years old who attend Cal State Channel Islands in Ventura just down the road from us here. One woman told me that, you know, she - this is her safe area. This is - she grew up in Thousand Oaks, and this is a place that she always thought was safe. And how could this be happening here? She's seen it happen so many other places.

But just a - you know, a very frantic, harrowing scene. There were - there was an unconfirmed report. One eyewitness told me that she saw what she thought was a smoke bomb go off, which added to the chaos inside the - inside the bar there. She was able to run out with another group after, you know, ducking for cover and running out and getting to her car in the parking lot where they basically just sheltered in place.

The sheriff told us that there is no confirmed - no confirmation yet, I should say, of there being additional or any other explosives in there. It's a very active crime scene, and they're investigating it. And, you know, with any breaking news situation like this, there's a lot of hearsay and stuff coming out that's not confirmed yet. So I think the authorities are trying to, you know, just tell us what they can.

KING: And we appreciate you telling us what you have. Kirk Siegler joining us with the latest on a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif. - Kirk, thanks so much.

SIEGLER: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As a correspondent on NPR's national desk, Kirk Siegler covers rural life, culture and politics from his base in Boise, Idaho.