Of­fi­cer’s bul­let killed deputy

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Soumya Karlamangla

LOS AN­GE­LES — The fa­tal bul­let that struck Ven­tura County sher­iff’s Sgt. Ron Helus in­side a chaotic shoot­ing scene at the Bor­der­line Bar and Grill in Novem­ber was fired from a Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol of­fi­cer’s ri­fle, au­thor­i­ties said Fri­day.

Helus was hit five times by gun­fire from shooter Ian David Long, 28, who was armed with a .45-cal­iber Glock hand­gun with a laser sight. How­ever, Helus might have been able to sur­vive those in­juries, coro­ner’s of­fi­cials said.

The sixth and fa­tal round, which struck Helus in the chest, was fired from a fel­low of­fi­cer’s gun. Helus was wear­ing a bul­let-proof vest, but of­fi­cials did not say where the bul­let en­tered his body.

“This news is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for all of us to process and un­der­stand,” Ven­tura County Sher­iff Bill Ayub said.

The CHP of­fi­cer was only iden­ti­fied as a nine-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.”

Helus, a 29-year vet­eran of the depart­ment, and the patrol of­fi­cer had en­tered the bar on Nov. 7 to con­front Long.

Long had tossed smoke bombs and fired two of his seven high­ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines that packed 30 shots each into the crowd as pa­trons tried to es­cape, Ayub said last month. Eleven other peo­ple died.

Helus and the CHP of­fi­cer were the first peo­ple to run into the bar, min­utes af­ter the first 911 call. Long, who Helus was set up in a tac­ti­cal po­si­tion to pre­pare for re­spond­ing of­fi­cers, im­me­di­ately am­bushed them.

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

“Sgt. Helus and the CHP of­fi­cer both know­ingly and will­ingly went into what can only be de­scribed as a com­bat sit­u­a­tion, risk­ing their own lives to save oth­ers,” Ayub added. “It is a fact that many lives were saved that night.”

Long later was found in­side the bar with a sin­gle gun­shot wound in the head. An au­topsy de­ter­mined he had shot him­self, au­thor­i­ties said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors did not of­fer any more in­sight into what drove Long to storm the coun­try­west­ern bar.

Ayub said that de­spite the source of the fa­tal shot, Long alone is to blame for Helus’ death.

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