Sheriff's sergeant Ron Helus 'died a hero' at Thousand Oaks shooting and wanted to retire this year
The United States has suffered another tragedy this week, after a shooter killed 12 people at a bar and grill at Thousand Oaks in California. Ian David Long, a 28-year-old man, opened fire with a .45 calibre handgun on innocent bystanders at the Borderline Bar and Grill at around 11.20pm on November 7, 2018. Long was shot by law enforcement, who arrived on the scene.
The life of a police officer was also claimed in the incident. He is said to have died a hero's death trying to protect innocent people. Sherrif's Sargent Ron Helus, a 29 year veteran of the Ventura County who was meant to retire in a year, was shot by Long after Helus attempted to confront and subdue the shooter.
He was among the first responders at the incident and was hit multiple times. He died as a result of his injuries at the hospital in the early hours of Thursday, November 8. The Los Angeles Times has reported that, before heading to the scene of the incident, Helus called his wife and stated: "Hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call."
Commenting on the death of his colleague, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean stated: "Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriff’s sergeant. He was totally committed. He gave his all. Tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives, to save other people ... It's so tragic losing Ron. We go to the gym together, work out together. it's horrific and terrible and it saddens our hearts."
He added: "You know, I’ve been a cop for 41 years, and I never thought I would see the things around the country that would happen ... But I’ve learned, it doesn’t matter what community you’re in, it doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere."
Meanwhile, sheriff's Sgt Eric Buschow stated: "I don't think there's anything more heroic than what he did. He went in there to save lives. He took decisive action, and it's just a tragic loss for us ... This was in his blood. He had just a natural instinct for going after crooks, and he did it with enthusiasm, with a great deal of intelligence ... He loved spending time with his son. They would go fishing up in the Sierras together. My heart goes out to his family - I can't imagine what they're going through right now."
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has stated that it will hold a special procession for Helus, honoring his brave attempt to arrest the perpetrator and protect innocent members of the public from harm. In an official statement, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department claimed "Ron’s selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Our thoughts are with Helus' friends and family, and all other people affected by the violence, during this difficult time.