Sgt Ron Helus, 54, spoke to his wife just moments before rushing into the Borderline Bar & Grill in California to try and save lives during a mass shooting. He was killed
The police procession has begun for the hero sheriff’s sergeant who was the first on the scene of a mass shooting at a California country bar and immediately rushed inside to confront the gunman.
Sgt Ron Helus’ devastated widow greeted his casket, draped with an American flag, in front of Los Robles Medical Center on Thursday morning.
Helus, 54, died at the hospital an hour after he was shot multiple times at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night.
Helus, of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was speaking to his wife Karen when he received the call about the shooting.
‘He said, “Hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,’ Sheriff Geoff Dean told the Los Angeles Times.
Hospital workers went outside to honor Helus as his casket was transferred to a hearse outside of Los Robles Medical Center around 10am on Thursday.
Police officers could be seen saluting the hearse, while others waved American flags in tribute to the fallen officer.
Ventura Highway 101 was shut down as dozens of police motorcycles and cars followed the hearse.
Helus and another officer from the California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the massacre at 11.23pm on Wednesday night – three minutes after the 911 call went out.
Helus’ wife Karen walked behind his body as it was transferred to a hearse for a procession from the Los Robles Medical Center on Thursday morning
Helus will be transported via motorcade from Los Robles Hospital (pictured) to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office
Hospital workers gathered outside to honor the 29-year-old veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday morning
After hearing gunfire coming from inside the bar, which was occupied by nearly 200 college students, Helus rushed through the front door and confronted the shooter.
‘They knew they had to take action and they went in and did what they had to do,’ Dean said.
‘Our officers know, when you get to a scene, and there’s two of you, or even just one of you, and there’s a shooting going on, you go in.’
Helus was shot several times and had to be pulled out of the line of fire by the CHP officer.
Helus was the first responder on the scene of the horrific mass shooting in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday night. He had called Karen and told her he loved her just moments before rushing inside
The sergeant was rushed to Los Robles hospital, where he died an hour later.
Helus was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and was planning to retire in the next year.
Dean said he was ‘totally committed’ to his job and ‘gave his all’.
‘He knew the risks, but he knew, like we all do, why we serve,’ he said. ‘Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant. And tonight he died a hero.
Los Angeles County firefighters salute from an overpass as Helus’ procession,drives down Ventura Highway 101 on Thursday
Ventura County Sheriff officers were visibly emotional as they waited for Helus’ procession to begin on Thursday morning
Friends hug outside Los Robles Medical Center in Thousands Oaks, California where two firefighter ladders joined to hang an American flag in honor of Helus
Twelve people, including Helus, were shot and killed in the incident, and numerous others were wounded.
The gunman, who has since been identified as 28-year-old Ian Long, was also found dead inside the bar and is believed to have killed himself.
‘He went in to save lives, to save other people.’
Sheriff’s Capt Garo Kuredijan called Helus an ‘unbelievable man’.
Sheriff’s Capt Garo Kuredijan called Helus an ‘unbelievable man’ who was a ‘trainer, a mentor, a leader’ for the department. Pictured are people waving American flags as the procession drives past
Ventura Highway 101 was shut down as dozens of police motorcycles and cars followed the hearse on Thursday morning
Helus had worked in the narcotics division of his department and was also on the SWAT team for many years during his time in the department
The Ventura County Sheriff salutes Helus’ hearse as it leaves Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks on Thursday morning
‘He was a lifetime learner, a trainer, a mentor, a leader,’ he said. ‘He was a cop’s cop. His void is going to be felt throughout our agency.’
The father-of-one is survived by his wife Karen and son Jordan.
Helus’ Facebook profile is full of photos of the officer and his son hunting, fishing, and playing with their dog together.
The family man referred to his son as ‘my boy’ in dozens of posts and spoke of how proud he was of Jordan.
The father-of-one was described as a ‘hardworking, dedicated man who was totally committed’ to the department
The father-of-one is survived by his Jordan (pictured on a fishing trip together) and his wife Karen. The family man referred to his son as ‘my boy’ in dozens of posts and spoke of how proud he was of Jordan
Helus is pictured here with his wife Karen, son Jordan, and others during a family trip to Knott’s Berry Farm in 2012
Helus had worked in the narcotics division of his department and was also on the SWAT team for many years.
‘He was just a great guy. Just an instinctive cop,’ said Sheriff’s Sgt Eric Buschow. ‘He always had a knack for investigations.’
‘He’s a tactician, so I have no doubt he employed the best tactics possible. Unfortunately in a chaotic situation like that, you’ve just got to go in. And he did.’
Wednesday night’s massacre has rocked the city of Thousand Oaks, often called one of the safest cities in America.
According to survivors, Long was dressed in all black and wore a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a mask that covered the bottom part of his face during the shooting.
Wednesday night’s massacre has rocked the city of Thousand Oaks, often called one of the safest cities in America
Survivors described how the gunman carried the attack out with careful precision and said he had ‘perfect form’ shooting
He walked up to the entrance at 11.20pm and shot the bouncer before making his way into the venue.
Long then shot a young female cashier before throwing smoke grenades onto the dance floor and letting off rounds into the crowd.
Survivors described how he carried the attack out with careful precision and said he had ‘perfect form’ when shooting.
The bar is popular with college kids because it allows those under 21 on Wednesday nights. Those who were not old enough to drink had black X’s stamped on their hands.