When a gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Wednesday night, Sgt. Ron Helus rushed in.
He would not make it out. Sergeant Helus was killed in the shooting at the crowded country music bar, one of 12 people who lost their lives in the attack.
His colleagues in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said that toll might have been even higher if not for Sergeant Helus.
“He went in to save lives, to save other people.” Sheriff Geoff Dean said Thursday, adding that Sergeant Helus was set to retire this year.
“He was a true cop’s cop,” Sgt. Eric Buschow told CNN of his colleague. Sergeant Buschow said he joined the force about the same as Sergeant Helus 29 years ago. Over the years, Sergeant Helus worked in various departments within the agency, including narcotics and SWAT.
“He had a natural instinct going after crooks,” Sergeant Buschow said. “He did it with enthusiasm and a great deal of intelligence.”
Sergeant Helus loved the outdoors and enjoyed fishing with his son in Sierra Nevada.
“I don’t think there is anything more heroic than what he did,” Sergeant Buschow said. “He went in there to save lives.”