Some had to use chairs to break windows inside the bar to escape. "A friend yelled, 'Everybody down!' We were hiding behind tables trying to keep ourselves covered".
A law enforcement motorcade is providing an escort Thursday as the body of Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus is driven about 25 miles from a hospital in Thousand Oaks to a coroner's facility in the city of Ventura.
"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant", Dean said, choking back tears.
Anxious family members gathered at a teen center in town to await word on the fate of loved ones who had gone to the club.
This was the deadliest mass killing in the USA since the massacre in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2017. It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Once again, President Donald Trump has ordered flags at half-staff "in a mark of solemn respect".
According to the website Gun Violence Archive, more than 12,000 people have been killed using firearms in the United States so far this year, including about 3,000 people under 18. Dean said there was "blood everywhere" inside the bar. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
"There's no indication that he targeted the employees".
He said the only weapon found in an initial sweep was a handgun. "Maybe there was a motive for this particular night, but we have no information leading to that at all".
He served in the war in Afghanistan for seven months, beginning in late 2010, and was awarded multiple ribbons, commendations and medals. They responded to a call at a house in April where the suspect was acting irrationally.
Police who responded to reports of a shooting rushed to the scene and engaged the gunman, said Kuredjian.
"I was concerned because I knew he had been in the military", he said. "Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner". Helus was immediately shot, Dean said. Sergeant Helus was taken to a local hospital where he died from his wounds. He praised the slain officer - a close friend - as a hero: "He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price".
Authorities said the suspect has been shot dead. The 22-year-old went to Borderline Bar & Grill every Wednesday to line dance, his dad said.
The incident happened at the Borderline Bar and Grill, about 40 miles north of LA.
Borderline, which bills itself as the "biggest dance floor in town", had been hosting an event called "College Country Night" when the shooting occurred.
Pepperdine University confirmed several students were at the bar during the shooting. "Those are my people and it's just not fair, it's not fair", she said. Some men ran toward them and said the gunman was coming. My son thought it was a joke, so I pulled him down and got some cover. "My heart goes out to his family - I can't imagine what they're going through right now". That exit leads to a patio where people smoke. He was accompanied by an officer from the California Highway Patrol on his way into the building.
"I screamed to him, 'There's a shooter in there!' He was kind of in disbelief, then saw that I was serious", Knapp said.
A neighbour, who would only identify himself by his last name, Mr Hanson, said Long lived with his mother.
"It was really, really, really shocking", she told KABC-TV as she stood with her father in the Borderline vehicle park.
Firefighters are honoring Helus with a giant US flag raised by two ladder trucks over the route. Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Capt. Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office told reporters that the shooter was still "confined" inside the restaurant and that there was no longer an immediate threat to residents in the area.