Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the first officers to respond to the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in California.
Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night. He was accompanied by a California Highway Patrol officer.
The officers’ active shooter training meant they knew they had to enter the building and attempt to stop the gunman, who had opened fire on the young patrons enjoying the bar’s college country night.
Helus was shot at the scene and died in the hospital early Thursday morning. He was due to retire next year. Eleven others were also killed in the shooting and the gunman was found dead at the scene.
“Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff sergeant,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said at a press conference. “He was totally committed. He gave it his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people.”
Dean told CBS News that he and Helus were gym buddies.
Photos on Helus’s Facebook page showed him enjoying outdoor activities including fishing with his son.
“He was a father, a husband, and he died tonight going in to try to save others and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Dean told CBS News.