Stories of fear, terror and heroism are emerging from the southern California bar where a gunman opened fire Wednesday night.

Thirteen people were killed in the shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., including the gunman and the first police officer to respond to the scene.

‘I … found kids everywhere’

Sarah Silikula lives near the bar – close enough that she can hear its music. Late Wednesday night, she heard the music stop.

“I didn’t hear any shots but I did hear the screaming,” Silikula told CTV News Channel on Thursday.

Silikula said she heard the sirens of emergency vehicles two or three minutes later, then received a call from her daughter warning her that there had been a shooting.

Her daughter said she hadn’t been at the bar, but a friend of hers had and was hiding in the bathroom. Silikula rushed outside to see what was happening.

“I came down and just found kids everywhere – hiding behind trees, behind bushes, behind cars, in shock, bleeding, carrying people who had been shot,” she said.

‘He was shooting everything’

Kayla Simmons told CNN she was inside the bar with friends when she heard shots and saw smoke.

“He was shooting everything from the speakers to anything,” she said.

“We just tried to get down as fast as we could and get out of there.”

Simmons said she heard the man firing “18 to 20 rounds at a time.”

‘He knew what he was doing’

Tayler Whitler said she was on the dance floor when she heard people yelling “get down.” She said she saw the gunman reload his weapon before she escaped.

“He [reloaded] in about six seconds, which is really fast, so he knew what he was doing,” she told reporters.

‘There’s a shooter in there!’

College student Cole Knapp said he saw the gunman wearing a black hoodie as he opened fire.

Knapp said he tried to help other people in the bar take cover, then headed for the bar’s patio and jumped over a fence to safety.

He said he flagged down a nearby police officer and screamed “There’s a shooter in there!”

‘He just started shooting’

A man who was in the bar with his stepson told KABC-TV that the bar’s bouncer and cashier were both shot.

“He didn’t say anything at all. He just started shooting,” the man said.

“I should have stayed until he changed his clip, but I was worried about my boy – but I should have stayed. I apologize to anybody who got hurt or passed.”

Other witnesses described seeing and hearing people smashing windows with barstools to create escape routes from the bar.



With files from The Associated Press