THOUSAND OAKS (AP) — Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean choked back tears as he described the sheriff’s sergeant killed in a mass shooting at a California bar.
The sheriff said Sgt. Ron Helus undoubtedly saved lives by going in to confront the gunman. He says Helus was the first responder and was immediately hit with multiple gunshots.
He says a highway patrolman pulled out Helus and waited for a SWAT team as scores of other officers converged on the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m.
By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped, and they found 12 people dead inside, including the gunman.
He says Helus was later declared dead at a hospital.
Dean says Helus was his longtime friend and gym partner and planned to retire soon after 29 years with the force.
He leaves a wife and son.
The sheriff says he told Helus’ wife “he died a hero because he went in to save lives.”