Hero sergeant in Thousand Oaks massacre was killed by friendly fire

Lester Mason
December 8, 2018

The 29-year veteran of the department was close to retirement. He then used a flashlight with a laser sight attached to his.45-caliber semi-automatic pistol as he fired at the establishment, which was filled mostly with young people dancing to country music.

The explanation for Helus's death speaks to the frenzied, unsafe and often unclear situations faced by law enforcement officials who head to active shooting scenes.

The CHP officer was not identified but is a 9-year veteran of the force who is on leave.

'It was just a tragic detail that unfolded so rapidly, in my view it was unavoidable, ' Ayub said.

Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, was struck by five rounds from the suspect's gun and a sixth round from the rifle of a California Highway Patrol officer.

The shots fired by the gunman "caused serious injuries but potentially survivable injuries", chief medical examiner Chris R. Young told the outlet.

During the gunfight, Long shot Helus five times. "Today, I'm deeply saddened to inform you that Sgt. Helus was also struck by a sixth bullet, which we now know, through forensic analysis by the FBI's crime laboratory, was sacked from the CHP officer's rifle".


The finding that Helus was killed by another lawman did not diminish the heroism shown by both men, and no one is to blame but the gunman himself, Ayub said. "He had no clue it was coming", said L.D. Maples, chief of the California Highway Patrol's coastal division.

"It is important to remember that the horrific circumstances at the Borderline Bar and Grill on that Wednesday night, exactly one month ago today, were caused by the evil action of one individual: the man who murdered 12 people and injured 22 others", Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a Friday news conference, according to the station. They were immediately ambushed by the shooter, who had positioned himself into a tactical position to return fire.

"This news is extremely hard for all of us to process and understand", Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said.

Officials didn't have much else to update about the investigation Friday, nothing more on the motive or the exact timeline of events - just the news that broke all their hearts, most of all that of the patrolman, a nine-year veteran, learned of the bad mistake for the first time Thursday. He said his officers continue to support Helus' widow, Karen, and son, Jordan, as well as the family, friends and colleagues of Barret.

Helus and the unnamed male CHP officer were the first law enforcement officers to respond to the shooting.

Ayub was adamant that the burden lies exclusively with Long. "The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us and underscores the hard and risky circumstances law enforcement faces, often with only mere seconds to react".

Officials didn't have much else to update about the investigation on Friday, nothing more on the motive or the exact timeline of events - just the news that broke all their hearts, most of all that of the patrolman, who learned of the awful mistake for the first time on Thursday.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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