Among the vic­tims, Sgt. Ron Helus, ‘went in to save lives’

The Bradenton Herald - - News - BY DANA GOLD­STEIN

When a gun­man opened fire at the Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, on Wed­nes­day night, prompt­ing pa­trons to flee in ter­ror, Sgt. Ron Helus rushed in.

He would not make it out. Helus was killed in the shoot­ing at the crowd- ed coun­try mu­sic bar, be­com­ing one of 12 peo­ple who lost their lives in the at­tack.

His col­leagues in the Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment said that the death toll might have been even higher if not for Helus.

“He went in to save lives, to save other peo­ple,” Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said Thurs­day, adding that Helus was set to re­tire this year. Helus had a con­ver­sa­tion with his wife on the phone be­fore en­ter­ing the bar, the sher­iff said.

“He was a true cop’s cop,” Sgt. Eric Buschow told CNN. Buschow said that dur­ing Helus’ 29 years on the force he worked in var­i­ous de­part­ments within the agency, in­clud­ing nar­cotics and SWAT.

“He had a nat­u­ral in­stinct go­ing af­ter crooks,” Buschow said. “He did it with en­thu­si­asm and a great deal of in­tel­li­gence.”

Helus loved the out­doors and en­joyed fish­ing with his son in the Sierra Ne­vada. On his LinkedIn page, he said that in ad­di­tion to his polic­ing job, he owned a firearms safety train­ing busi­ness called Gun Con­trol.

“I don’t think there is any­thing more heroic than what he did,” Buschow said. “He went in there to save lives.”

Among the oth­ers who died in the shoot­ing:

Cody Coff­man: Cody Coff­man had just turned 22 and was plan­ning to join the Army, said his fa­ther, Ja­son Coff­man, who con­firmed his son’s death in an in­ter­view with re­porters that aired on CNN.

Justin Meek: Justin Meek had just grad­u­ated in May from Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity, where the cam­pus chapel over­flowed Thurs­day with peo­ple at­tend­ing a ser­vice of mourn­ing, ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports.

Meek, 23, had ma­jored in crim­i­nal jus­tice, school spokes­woman Karin Gren­nan said.

Alaina Hous­ley: Alaina Hous­ley was just 18, a promis­ing stu­dent at Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­sity with plans to study law, her fam­ily told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

MARK J. TERRILL AP

Peo­ple cry as a mo­tor­cade es­corts the body of Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment Sgt. Ron Helus from the Los Robles Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif.

Ron Helus

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