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‘He Died a Hero’: 29-Year Sheriff’s Vet Called His Family One Last Time Before Going into Borderline Bar


A mass shooting occurred at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. starting at approximately 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday. Twelve people were killed and at least another 10 were injured. Two people were taken to the hospital by ambulance, while 18 others drove themselves to the hospital.

The country-western dance bar is a popular destination for college students in the area on Wednesday nights. It has a 2,500-square-foot dance floor.

One of the victims has been identified as Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran on the force, a husband and a father. Helus had planned on retiring. According to the Los Angeles Times, Helus called his family before he went in.

Sheriff Geoff Dean said the scene was “horrific” and that there was “blood everywhere.”

Dean said that Helus “died a hero.”

“Ron was a hardworking dedicated sheriff’s sergeant. He was totally committed, he gave his all and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero; he went in to save lives, to save other people,” he said, choking up over Helus’ death.

President Donald Trump said that he has been briefed on the shooting and praised the bravery of police.

Many college students were there with their friends last night, some celebrating 21st birthdays. People frantically smashed windows to escape. Matt Wennerstrom saved many lives by smashing windows and bringing people to safety.. The rest of the deceased have not yet been identified, but we will update this story when they are.

Teylor Whittler was one of the students there celebrating her 21st birthday. She described the shooter as a “taller man with a gun shooting multiple people.”

“I went with 11 friends, so far we’ve only found six of them,” she said. “We don’t know where the other ones are, we don’t know if they’re OK or not.”

Whittler, born into a military family, said that it appeared the mass shooter was well-trained.

“As soon as he walked in he had perfect form,” she said. “He looked like he knew what he was doing.”

The shooter, who has yet to be identified by name, was also killed. Early reports indicate that he was a 29-year-old white male who was wearing a mask, a trench coat, all black clothing and was wielding a .45 caliber handgun. Witnesses said he shot an unarmed security guard at the door and continued shooting anyone he could.

This mass shooting occurs not long after shootings at a yoga studio in Tallahassee and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. 

[Image via ABC7 screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.