Deputy died from friendly fire in Calif. bar gun­bat­tle

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - By Amanda Lee My­ers The As­so­ci­ated Press

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — A sher­iff ’s deputy who died in a mass shoot­ing at a Cal­i­for­nia bar was shot five times by a gun­man who mas­sa­cred 11 oth­ers, but the of­fi­cer was killed by friendly fire, au­thor­i­ties said Fri­day.

Sgt. Ron Helus was fa­tally shot in the heart by a Cal­i­for­nia high­way pa­trol­man who had joined him in the chaotic gun­bat­tle at the Bor­der­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks on Nov. 7, Ven­tura County Sher­iff Bill Ayub said.

“It was just a tragic de­tail that un­folded so rapidly, in my view it was un­avoid­able,” Ayub said. “They were am­bushed al­most im­me­di­ately.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors did not of­fer any more in­sight into what drove Ian David Long, 28, to storm the coun­try-western bar dur­ing a weekly event for col­lege stu­dents.

Helus and the CHP of­fi­cer re­turned fire with high-pow­ered ri­fles, but Long was not struck by any of their rounds and took his own life after the fire­fight.

Helus was wear­ing a bul­let­proof vest when he was shot, but of­fi­cials did not say where the bul­let en­tered his body. His wounds from Long’s hand­gun were se­ri­ous, but po­ten­tially sur­viv­able, said Christo­pher Young, the chief med­i­cal ex­am­iner.

The CHP of­fi­cer was only iden­ti­fied as a 9-year vet­eran of the force. He is on leave. The of­fi­cer was no­ti­fied Thurs­day of the find­ing by L.D. Maples, chief of the CHP’S Coastal Di­vi­sion.

“He had no clue it was com­ing,” Maples said. “It sur­prised all of us. He’s dev­as­tated. He’s a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional, well-trained, mil­i­tary back­ground.”

Ron Helus

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