An Australian caught up in the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting has revealed how he desperately covered his mates to protect them after a gunman opened fire.
Tristan Appleby, originally fro Sydney's Sutherland Shire, was inside the Southern California bar when Ian David Long suddenly began shooting.
In an exclusive interview with 9news.com.au, Mr Appleby said the incident was overwhelming and terrifying.
'I didn't believe it was real when it was happening,' Mr Appleby said.
'I was playing pool with my friends and we heard noises we thought were fireworks.
'I looked up and saw a man shooting.'
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Twelve people were killed when 28-year-old Long entered the venue overnight armed with a .45-calibre handgun and began shooting.
Authorities believe the gunman killed himself following the shooting spree.
Mr Appleby, 20, told his friends to get under the pool table before diving on them to protect them.
'I watched the gunman shoot multiple people who were lying on the ground,' he said.
'I watched him walk away from us and I was keeping an eye on him while I was lying under the table. As soon as I saw him start to reload, I told my friends to run out the back exit and we sprinted out.'
One of Long's victims included Ventura County Sergeant Ron Helus, who was fatally shot responding at the scene.
The 54-year-old was a former narcotics and SWAT officer who was due to retire next year.
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