Hero Down: Ventura Co. Sgt. Ron Helus Murdered By Mass Shooter

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Ron Helus was murdered in the line of duty.

Thousand Oaks, CA – Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ron Helus was mortally wounded in the line of duty on Wednesday night, as he tried to stop a rampaging gunman from committing mass murder inside a country music club.

"He went in to save lives, to save other people," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said during a press conference, according to CNN.

"He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero,” the sheriff added.

The incident began at approximately 11:20 p.m., when a hooded gunman dressed in black clothing entered the Borderline Bar & Grill, the Associated Press reported.

The establishment was hosting a university student night, and at least 200 patrons were inside at the time of the attack, BBC reported.

The gunman, later identified as David Ian Long, then opened fire, according to KABC.

According to witnesses, patrons inside the bar mostly fell silent and fled to various corners of the building, attempting to hide, CNN reported.

“He didn’t say anything, at least not that we could hear, witness Matthew Estron told NBC News. “Everyone was just trying to get out.”

Others tossed stools through windows and hoisted people out, saving dozens of lives, CNN reported.

Sgt. Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, was among the first law enforcement officers to respond to the scene, Sheriff Dean said told CBS News early Thursday morning.

“When he heard gunfire, he went in and that’s something [we] would expect from Ron,” he said, according to KCBS.

"He was willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of others," the sheriff noted, according to NBC News. "He ran into danger — he didn't walk."

He was shot multiple times after he entered the building, and was later pulled to safety by a California Highway Patrol trooper, CBS News reported.

Sgt. Helus, 54, was rushed to a local hospital, where he died at approximately 2 a.m. on Thursday.

The gunman murdered eleven other people during the attack, and wounded 10 to 15 more, Sheriff Dean said, according to CNN.

The suspect was later found dead inside the bar.

“When the officers made entry, the suspect was already deceased,” Sheriff Dean said during the press conference. “There are 11 victims. I will not count the suspect as a victim.”

Police have not released his cause of death or a possible motive for the attack.

"It's a horrific scene in there," Sheriff Dean said. "There is blood everywhere.”

“This is, by far, the most horrific thing I’ve seen in my 41 years,” he told NBC News.

The sheriff described Sgt. Helus as a “hardworking, dedicated” public servant, CBS News reported.

"It's so tragic losing Ron," Sheriff Dean said, according to CNN. "We go to the gym together, work out together. it's horrific and terrible and it saddens our hearts."

The married father-of-one has given nearly three decades of his life to his department, and planned to retire in about a year.

President Donald Trump expressed his condolences in the wake of the mass shooting, and thanked law enforcement for their “great bravery.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ron Helus, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Sergeant Ron Helus, your life mattered.

Comments (38)
No. 1-14
Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I wonder whether more stricter federal gun control laws would have prevented this tragedy.

ON EDIT: Forgot to mention that it sounds like Sgt. Helus died as a true hero who ran toward the gunfire.

MillardK
MillardK

Its not the guns fault.....its the idiot behind the gun you need to be concerned about. All the fancy gun laws in the world wont stop some idiot hell bound to kill someone. Stop blaming the guns.

SAAM
SAAM

I wonder whether more stricter federal birth control laws would have prevented Burgers Allday.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Ah, i get it. What makes this a story is not that YET ANOTHER mass shooting had occured, but that one out of 11 victims was a cop.

That actually explains why this site seems to skip some they deem less newsworthy.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Rest in peace, all who died as a result of this madman's actions. Thank you, Sergeant Helus for trying to save others and dying in the attempt. Thank you for your sacrifice. Praying for all lives affected.

Richard Kurtz
Richard Kurtz

Guns are not the problem. If there were no guns he still could have used a home made bomb and killed even more people. Or drove a vehicle at high speed into the bar. Actually mass shootings are not the problem. They just play well for the media. Only very small number of people are killed in a shooting like this each year. Far more people die from alcohol related reasons. Maybe we need to go back to prohibition to stop that? No gun law will prevent this. Better care for our veterans may have. Better mental health care for anyone in need would help the situation more than any gun law would. To me that is the real tragedy.

SheepDawg
SheepDawg

While other first world countries may not have the same incidence of these types of crimes, there are substantially more reasons behind that reality than the existence of gun laws. Mental health, drugs, poverty, politics, ad nauseam.

How about social media? It seems that I am unable to go anywhere any longer where over 75% (A guess) are not glued to their phone/computer/pad, often with earplugs being used. What reality are "we" as a society really living in? Where are "we" getting our influences? I would submit that the prevalence of electronics in our world has greatly diminished "our" ability to personally interact, learn alternative positions and deal with conflict.

I'm not sure that any additional laws will make a difference in these crimes. Murder, discharge of a weapon, assault, etc., etc. are all illegal. As stated below, a weapon is an inanimate object. Any inanimate object does not become a "weapon" until a person makes it so.

Of interest, however, is the demographic of the majority of suspects in these cases. While the overwhelming majority of suspects are white males a more important fact is also virtually always present. A family or friends who state something similar to "He was struggling," "He was suicidal," or some other variation. Often that is followed by "We tried to get him help but 'they' wouldn't help."

Who are "they?" Here is where, in my opinion, "we" fail as a society. "They" are probably some government agency, insurance company or other entity that would not pay for mental health services if the family even tried. Why should "they" be ultimately responsible for the well-being of a family member? There is help available everywhere. It may well cost the family their own money, but so what? Step up, take responsibility for your loved ones and get them the care that is needed. Maybe the family will have to cut back on Starbuck's or that new car every other year, but what is the priority?

Anyway, it absolutely sucks that this continues to happen. Will legislation change things? I doubt it. Will a movement towards improved mental health care help? Probably. How does that get accomplished legally and ethically?

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Long, 28, had several previous interactions with police, who found him ‘irate and irrational’ at his home in April. He killed 12 people in a bar on Wednesday The specialist machine-gunner who served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 was found dead at the scene of the bar shooting

SoJJohnsen
SoJJohnsen

Better yet....who bought him?....

SoJJohnsen
SoJJohnsen

Prayers to officer Herd, his family, friends, dept, and prayers to those wounded and murdered beside him.

Another case of a dead man walking......the idiot fell right into the devils trap....and Jesus, his judge.

Mush
Mush

What a true hero, BLUE LIVES MATTER.

jmgard555
jmgard555

HOW LONG is it going to take the idiots of this country to realize that taking weapons out of the hands of civilians willing to give their lives to save others is killing people. Veterans, Military, Police and others do it on-duty. We have lived it and are useful in these circumstances. The ruthless, wired wrong, screw loose people will ALWAYS find a way to accomplish these horrible acts.

rod5591
rod5591

Condolences to family and colleagues of Sgt. Helus. CNN reported there were 6 off-duty LEOs in the bar during the shooting, all unarmed. Later I read that some moonlighted as bar security. They could have saved many lives had they been armed, I think. Wonder why they were unarmed? California law?