Niece of 'Sister Sister' star Tamera Mowry killed in California shooting

WATCH: Gunshots heard, people flee, injured treated

Sister Sister star Tamera Mowry-Housley was devastated after discovering her niece was one of the victims of the California shooting.

Using a smoke bomb and a handgun, a hooded former Marine dressed all in black opened fire during college night at a country music bar in southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing in panic before apparently taking his own life, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities said the motive for the attack Wednesday night was under investigation.

READ MORE: Thousands Oaks, California, where 12 people were gunned down, is ranked 3rd safest city in U.S.

The killer was identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former machine-gunner and decorated combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Authorities said he had an episode of erratic behaviour last spring that they were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.

WATCH BELOW: The latest on the California shooting

Screaming in fear, patrons rushed for the exits, ducked under tables and hurled barstools to smash second-floor windows and jump to safety as gunfire erupted at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University.

READ MORE: Here’s what we know about the victims of the California shooting

Mowry-Housley and her husband, former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, confirmed their niece was a victim in the mass shooting in a statement.

“Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks,” the couple stated via their joint representative Chantal Artur. “Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner. We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time.”

READ MORE: California shooting — Ian David Long identified as gunman who killed 12

On Thursday morning, Mowry-Housely responded to a tweet after a girl had posted photos of her missing suitemate.

“Ashely this is her aunt Tamera Mowry Housley. Can you please DM me your information?” the talk show host wrote.

She responded to Mowry-Housley saying that she had already been in contact with her husband.

“I’ve been in contact with Adam, unfortunately there’s nothing new to report at the moment,” she wrote to Mowry-Housley.

“Ok. Thank you. Is she the only one unaccounted for?” Mowry-Housley asked.

“Yes, all the other girls are safe,” she responded to the actress.

READ MORE: ‘Huge panic’ with ‘blood everywhere’ — Witnesses describe California shooting that killed 12

Shortly after, Mowry-Housley tweeted: “Woke up shocked. Please pray. Please pray. I am numb.”

Her husband asked his follower to pray.

READ MORE: Sheriff’s sergeant Ron Helus ’died a hero’ in California shooting

The Los Angeles Times reports that Housley tried to look for his niece at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday but was turned away and told the hospital was on lockdown.

Mowry’s twin sister Tia Mowry asked her fans to help find Alaina.

“Alaina Housely we are praying. We love u! If you know anything or any information please let us know. We love you!” she wrote on Instagram.

This is the second mass shooting in the United States in less than two weeks. On Oct. 27, a gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

— With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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