Heroes rushed into gunfire, pulled people to safety at bar

People comfort each other as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a

People comfort each other as they stand near the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a

Mourners embrace outside of the Thousand Oaks Teen Center on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, where relatives and friends gathered in the aftermath of the Wedn

Mourners embrace outside of the Thousand Oaks Teen Center on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, where relatives and friends gathered in the aftermath of the Wedn

Brian White places a U.S. flag with a flower near the scene of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., after a gunman opened

Brian White places a U.S. flag with a flower near the scene of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., after a gunman opened

The death toll from a shooting at a Southern California bar might have been higher than 12 if not for a veteran police officer and two college-age men.

Cole Knapp, a Moorpark College freshman, and 20-year-old Matt Wennerstrom were having fun at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks when a man sprayed the bar with gunfire Wednesday night.

In the chaotic moments that followed, they became heroes.

When Wennerstrom saw the gunman, he pulled others under a pool table. When the man paused to reload, he and others smashed a window with barstools and shoved people through.

Knapp led others to an outdoor patio and over a fence to safety.

Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus died in an exchange of gunfire. Authorities say that confrontation gave others time to escape.