Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in a press conference Thursday morning that the gunman was a veteran, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Helus loved to go fishing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with his son, according to Sgt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, who worked with him for 29 years.
"He died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people", Dean said.
The gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, died inside the bar, police said on Thursday. It's unclear whether he took his own life or if the attack was terror-related.
"It's a horrific scene in there", he said.More news: White House accused of editing footage of CNN reporter
"We do not know at this time how many rounds were actually in the weapon or how many rounds the magazine could actually hold because it's still being processed as part of the evidence", Dean said.
"I started hearing these big pops". I hit the ground. Sheriff's Office has confirmed the shooter is among the dead. "Well, I don't want to say he was dead, but he was shot".
Gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire through the windows of his suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel which overlooked the open air concert.
Shootings of any kind are very rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of about 130,000 people about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Los Angeles, just across the county line. "And that's what's really blowing my mind, it's a really safe area".
CBS L.A. said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were seen entering the bar. He said responding deputies could hear gunshots as they arrived on scene.
"I heard shots and that's not a noise you mistake for anything else", said Matt Wennerstrom, who described the shooter as tall, over six feet, and dressed in dark clothing. "He was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally". The Western-style bar hosts theme nights such as country, salsa and swing dancing.More news: Nintendo to remove offensive Native American designs from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The bar is a country-themed bar known for its large dance floor and live music events, according to its website.
Dean said a mother recalled that the cops stood in front of her daughter to shield her from the gunfire.
People comfort each other outside the scene of a shooting, November 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, California. Some men ran toward them and said the gunman was coming.
"I saw him point to the back of the cash register ... and he just kept firing".More news: Riot Games Employees Sue Company For Gender Discrimination