Late Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, a shooter entered the bar and opened fire, killing 12. One of the victims of the shooting was the first officer to arrive at the scene, Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus.
After arriving just after 11:20 p.m. Wednesday night, Helus heard shots fired inside of the bar and immediately decided to enter through the front door. But before he did, Sheriff Geoff Dean said he called his wife.
“He said, ‘Hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,’” Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
A California Highway Patrol Officer on the scene with Helus stepped back to secure the perimeter when he entered the bar.
“They immediately exchanged gunfire with the suspect. And that’s when Sgt. Helus was shot several times,” Dean said.
Officials confirmed that Helus later died at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Helus, 54, was a Moorpark resident and a 29-year veteran of the department.
A second group of officers had entered the bar about 15 minutes after Helus, and found the suspect dead in an office from a self-inflicted wound. Eleven more people were found dead inside.
“Our officers know, when you get to a scene, and there's two of you, or even just one of you, and there's shooting going on, you go in," the sheriff said.
Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian said that a young man later walked up to him after the shooting, extending his thanks to the responding officers.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that your sergeant’s actions saved others from being victims,” the man told Kuredjian. “That’s a small piece of solace for the family knowing their father, their husband, ran into danger and saved lives.”
Officers said that there were probably about 150 to 200 people inside of the Borderline Bar & Grill during the shooting.
Read the developing story on the Los Angeles Times.