President Trump orders flags at half staff following Thousand Oaks mass shooting

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The American flag over the White House flies at half staff following the shooting in Thousand Oaks, California late Wednesday evening on November 08, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump responded to a mass shooting at a country bar in Southern California, saying he has been "fully briefed" and ordered flags on Thursday to be flown at half staff in the aftermath.

A hooded gunman dressed entirely in black opened fire on a crowd at a country dance bar holding a weekly "college night" in Thousand Oaks, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing including some who used barstools to break windows and escape, authorities said.

The gunman was later found dead at the scene.

The president called the incident a "terrible shooting," noting law enforcement and first responders were working with the FBI at the scene. 

Minutes later, he noted the "great bravery shown by police" and said the first officer to enter was shot "numerous times."

Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman were responding to several 911 calls late Wednesday night when they showed up at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

Helus was immediately hit with multiple gunshots, Dean said. The highway patrolman cleared the perimeter and pulled Helus out, and then waited as a SWAT team and scores more officers arrived. Helus died early Thursday at a hospital.

In the aftermath, Trump issued the following proclamation on Thursday:

"As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 7, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, November 10, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.''

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