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.




AF­TER­MATH: A vic­tim is treated near the scene of the shoot­ing, while oth­ers com­fort each other, left.

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