Sergeant Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed as he responded to the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, late on the night of November 7. Helus was a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s department. County Sheriff Geoff Dean told the media that Helus was one year away from retirement. The sheriff added, “I told his wife he died a hero — he went in to save lives.” The gunman has been named as 29-year-old Ian Long.
Sheriff Dean had described Helus as a friend. Sergeant Helus is survived by his wife, Karen, and son, Jordan. Sheriff Dean also said that Helus “knew the risks, but he knew, like we all do, why we serve. Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant. He was totally committed. He gave his all. And tonight… he died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people. There’s just no way to describe this. It saddens us all and it tears at our hearts.” The sheriff later said that he called his wife just before taking the call about the shooting. The sheriff said Helus “told her loved her and he had to go.”
Sergeant Helus Had Been Planning to Study for a Doctorate
According to his Facebook page, Helus was the owner and founder of a firearms training facility in Ventura. Helus said that he studied at the University of Oklahoma and was from West Hills, California. In his bio section, Helus included two biblical quotes, one, Psalm 144:1, says, “Praise be to the Lord my rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Another, John 15:13, reads, “No greater love can a man have than he who lays down his life for a friend.”
Helus lived in Moorpark with his wife. The majority of the photos on Helus’ page show him to be an active outdoorsman and shows him hunting and fishing with his son.
Helus wrote on his LinkedIn page that he was an FBI certified firearms instructor in addition to “thousands of hours of specialized training.” Helus also had a Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Administrative Leadership and that he planned on studying for a doctorate. In May 2012, Helus graduated from Union Institute & University with a bachelor of science in criminal justice management. During his career, several of Helus’ cases were covered by the Los Angeles Times.
A Witness Said the Borderline Suspect ‘Knew What He Was Doing’
In total, authorities say that 13 people have been killed at the Borderline Bar and Grill, including the gunman and Sergeant Helus. Sergeant Helus was pronounced dead at Los Robles Regional Medical Center after being wounded multiple times, the sheriff told the media, via CBS Los Angeles.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the bar, which is popular with college students, at around 11:20 p.m. local time after reports of a shooting. Helus was on scene by 11:26 p.m. Speaking to CBS Los Angeles, the father of a customer at the bar said his daughter said the gunman “knew what he was doing” and had a “purpose.” The gunman was armed with a .45 caliber handgun and “some type of smoke device,” officials said.
President Donald Trump Has Commended the Bravery Shown by the Officers Who Responded to the Attack
President Donald Trump has commended the actions of the police who responded to the Borderline shooting. The president tweeted, “I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar…. Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”