Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who lost his life in the mass shooting at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar late Wednesday, is being hailed a hero in the aftermath of the attack.
Helus had served as an officer in Ventura County for 29 years and was planning to retire in “the next year or so” when he was killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill during his effort to save others, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters during an emotional press conference..
“He died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people.” Dean said Thursday morning.
Helus was 54. He was one of the first cops to enter the bar, where 11 others were also killed in the shooting. He had called his wife moments before he went into the bar, Dean said.
“He said, ‘hon, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,’” he told reporters, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Helus, who is survived by his wife and son, died in the hospital after sustaining injuries during the attack.
Helus held a number of roles during his years with Ventura County, including working for the SWAT and narcotics teams.