At grisly scene, officer ran to help
Gunman kills self, 12 others at bar
Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus was talking to his wife when calls started coming in about a shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “Hey, I got to go handle a call. I love you. I’ll talk to you later,” he told her, according to Sheriff Geoff Dean. It was the last time she would talk to her husband. Helus rushed toward the shooting and immediately exchanged fire with the shooter inside the bar, Dean said. Helus was hit multiple times and died at a hospital. Sgt. Eric Buschow, who said Helus was a friend, described him as a “cop’s cop.” “The fact that he was the first in the door doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “He’s just one of those guys that wouldn’t hesitate in a situation.” “He was just a great guy, a gentle soul,” Buschow said. “Patient. Calm no matter what. When you call 911, he’s one of the guys you want showing up.” “He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price,” he said. The gunman — Ian David Long, 28 — killed 12 people at a country music bar in a Los Angeles suburb late Wednesday night before killing himself, police say. Long was a former military machine gunner who was interviewed by mental health specialists months ago after a neighbor reported a disturbance. He had joined the Marines and gotten married young. Within several years, he left the military and divorced. Later, he enrolled at a university and most recently lived with his mother in a home where neighbors said they could hear aggressive arguments. Long’s service began when he was 18 and lasted nearly five years, including a seven-month tour in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon. He was honorably discharged with the
rank of corporal in 2013. The mental health experts were concerned that Long might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Dean said, “basing that (on) the fact that he was a veteran and had been in the Corps.” Authorities haven’t identified what motivated Long to open fire during college night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The city of about 130,000 people is consistently near the top of lists of the safest places in California. “Obviously he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this,” Dean said. Yesterday, thousands of people lined streets and many others pulled over to honor the fallen officer during a somber 25-mile procession that took Helus’ body from a hospital to a coroner’s office. “The people of Ventura County are losing a good man,” said Scott Horton, as he waited for the procession. It’d been seven months since he’d seen Helus, he said. Life has a way of separating you from friends, he said, there’s always another day, the end never seeming near. A crowd gathered outside the hospital to honor the fallen sheriff ’s sergeant. “I needed to be here to show my respect,” Thousand Oaks resident Lilly Rigg said. Ellen Rivera of Newbury Park came to lend support to shooting victims. A survivor of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, Rivera said she wasn’t hurt physically but still recovering emotionally. “People are going to need help and care,” Rivera said.
IAN DAVID LONG
AFTERMATH: A victim is treated near the scene of the shooting, while others comfort each other, left.