Deputy died from friendly fire in Thousand Oaks massacre, police say

California Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, killed in bar mass shooting, gunned down by friendly fire: authorities

Amid the chaos and confusion, as bleeding bar-goers were fleeing, Helus and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who responded with him were attacked nearly immediately by Long, who fired multiple rounds at them, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said at a news conference Friday.

'It is important to remember that the horrific circumstances at the Borderline Bar and Grill on that Wednesday night exactly one month ago today were caused by the evil act of one individual, ' Ayub said.

Sheriff Ayub added: 'Both Sgt. Helus and the CHP officer knowingly and willingly went into what can only be described as a combat situation, risking their own lives to save many others and it is a fact that many lives were saved that night'. We know that Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus and a CHP officer bravely entered the bar together and engaged the suspect who had already shot and killed numerous people inside the establishment.

"I delivered the message to him yesterday, he had no clue it was coming", Maples said.

But officials announced Friday that the sergeant's fatal wound was a result of a shot fired by his fellow law enforcement officer.

Officials didn't have much else to update about the investigation Friday, nothing more on the motive or the exact timeline of events - just the news that broke all their hearts, most of all that of the patrolman, a nine-year veteran, learned of the bad mistake for the first time Thursday.

Chief Medical Examiner Chris R. Young stated the five shots Helus sustained from the gunman may have been survivable, but the CHP officer's bullet is believed to have struck his heart, ultimately killing him.

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During the gunfight, Long shot Helus five times. "Her immediate reaction was that she wanted to meet with the CHP officer and let him know that she was OK. she knew how hard the news would be to him and his family".

The new sheriff, who took over just days after the shooting, said the news from the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been "extremely difficult" for the department to process. When officers arrived, more than 100 patrons, several of them bleeding, were jumping out windows and running for their lives while gunfire was heard inside the large bar.

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub asserted this was a "dynamic and chaotic event" and Sgt. Helus was clearly not the intended target.

Long threw smoke grenades into the bar, obstructing what employees and bar-goers could see before he opened fire.

Police have said Long fired more than 50 rounds from a Glock.45-caliber pistol during his attack inside Borderline. "In the face of danger, Sgt. Helus courageously upheld the oath he took to lay down his life rather than swerve from the path of duty".

Long, a Marine veteran, took a tactical position and lay in wait for the officers.

He had served 29 years in the police and was due to retire. "The burden lies exclusively with him, not with those who tried to save lives, those who tried to escape and certainly not with those who died while simply trying to enjoy an evening with friends". He is survived by his wife and a 24-year-old son.

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