California deputy killed by friendly fire
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.
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 California Highway Patrol 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 bullet-resistant 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 California Highway Patrol officer was only identified as a nine-year veteran of the force. He is on leave.
A photo of Sgt. Ron Helus adorns a memorial in Thousand Oaks, Calif.