Among the vic­tims, Sgt. Ron Helus, ‘went in to save lives’

The Idaho Statesman - - News - BY DANA GOLDSTEIN New York Times

When a gun­man opened fire at the Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, on Wed­nes­day night, prompt­ing pa­trons to flee in ter­ror, Sgt. Ron Helus rushed in.

He would not make it out. Helus was killed in the shoot­ing at the crowded coun­try mu­sic bar, be­com­ing one of 12 peo­ple who lost their lives in the at­tack.

His col­leagues in the Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment said that the death toll might have been even higher if not for Helus.

“He went in to save lives, to save other peo­ple,” Sher­iff Ge­off Dean said Thurs­day, adding that Helus was set to re­tire this year. Helus had a con­ver­sa­tion with his wife on the phone be­fore en­ter­ing the bar, the sher­iff said.

“He was a true cop’s cop,” Sgt. Eric Buschow told CNN. Buschow said that dur­ing Helus’ 29 years on the force he worked in var­i­ous de­part­ments within the agency, in­clud­ing nar­cotics and SWAT.

“He had a nat­u­ral in­stinct go­ing after crooks,” Buschow said. “He did it with en­thu­si­asm and a great deal of in­tel­li­gence.”

Helus loved the out­doors and en­joyed fish­ing with his son in the Sierra Ne­vada. On his LinkedIn page, he said that in ad­di­tion to his policing job, he owned a firearms safety train­ing busi­ness called Gun Con­trol.

“I don’t think there is any­thing more heroic than what he did,” Buschow said. “He went in there to save lives.”

Among the oth­ers who died in the shoot­ing: Cody Coff­man: Cody Coff­man had just turned 22 and was plan­ning to join the Army, said his fa­ther, Ja­son Coff­man, who con­firmed his son’s death in an in­ter­view with re­porters that aired on CNN.

Base­ball was his pas­sion. He played on his high school team and served as an um­pire. He liked spend­ing time with his younger sib­lings and of­ten went fish­ing with his fa­ther.

“I talked to him last night be­fore he headed out the door,” Ja­son Coff­man said in the in­ter­view out­side the Thou­sand Oaks Teen Cen­ter, where fam­i­lies had gath­ered to await in­for­ma­tion. “First thing I said was, ‘Please don’t drink and drive.’ The last thing I said was, ‘Son, I love you.’ ”

Justin Meek: Justin Meek had just grad­u­ated in May from Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity, where the cam­pus chapel over­flowed Thurs­day with peo­ple at­tend­ing a ser­vice of mourn­ing, ac­cord­ing to Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports.

Cal Lutheran Pres­i­dent Chris Kimball said in a state­ment that Meek was among the dead and had “hero­ically saved lives” in the at­tack, with­out giv­ing de­tails.

Meek, 23, had ma­jored in crim­i­nal jus­tice, school spokes­woman Karin Gren­nan said.

He worked as a respite care­giver sup­port­ing fam­i­lies with chil­dren with spe­cial needs, said Sharon Fran­cis, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Chan­nel Is­land So­cial Ser­vices. He was hired last sum­mer and mostly worked with kids with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties.

Alaina Hous­ley: Alaina Hous­ley was just 18, a promis­ing stu­dent at Pep­per­dine Uni­ver­sity with plans to study law, her fam­ily told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Adam Hous­ley, a for­mer Fox News cor­re­spon­dent, and Tam­era Mowry-Hous­ley, an ac­tress known for the 1990s TV se­ries “Sis­ter Sis­ter,” said their niece was killed at the bar where she had gone line danc­ing with friends.

“Alaina was an in­cred­i­ble young woman with so much life ahead of her, and we are dev­as­tated that her life was cut short in this man­ner,” the cou­ple said in a state­ment.

‘‘

HE WAS A TRUE COP’S COP. … I DON’T THINK THERE IS ANY­THING MORE HEROIC THAN WHAT HE DID.

Sgt. Eric Buschow about Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed when he en­tered the Border­line Bar & Grill

VEN­TURA COUNTY SHER­IFF'S OF­FICE NYT

Sgt. Ron Helus of the Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s Of­fice was fa­tally shot when he en­tered a crowded coun­try and west­ern dance hall in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., where a gun­man killed at least 12 peo­ple on Wed­nes­day night.

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