California bar shooting: Sheriff's deputy killed by friendly fire

The fatal bullet caused damage to Sgt. Ron Helus heart

Authorities did not confirm the distance from which Helus was struck by the CHP officer's bullet and would not reveal whether he was shot from the front or back.

Police officer's badge with mourning strip, in front of the Borderline Bar and Grill's parking lot in Thousand Oaks on November 9, 2018. They entered the bar together.

Ayub said both officers were fired upon nearly immediately after entering the Borderline - a popular gathering place for local residents and college students. "The CHP officer dragged Helus out of the building and from the line of fire. Both men quickly retreated and fired their rifles at the suspect".

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'.

"Whether this was accidental, or a missighting, or perhaps a mistaken identity is something we're still investigating", Ayub said.

The highway patrolman was not named, but he is a nine-year veteran of the force who is on leave. He said his officers continue to support Helus' widow, Karen, and son, Jordan, as well as the family, friends and colleagues of Barret.

'He would have said he was just doing his job, but you know what, he is a hero, and I want him to be known for that, because that's what he did'.

"He had no clue it was coming, was as surprised as all of us", Maples said.

Police have identified the attacker as 28-year-old Ian David Long, who has a history of angry behavior, and said they are still investigating what could have motivated the rampage. Long is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"These bullets caused serious injuries, but potentially survivable injuries", Young said.

The horrific shooting left 12 people dead with others wounded.

Helus and the CHP officer returned fire with high-powered rifles, but Long was not struck by any of their rounds and took his own life after the firefight.

At the news conference on Friday, authorities painted a clearer picture of the events leading to Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus' death. "But, ultimately this was the most severe injury sustained". But it was a sixth bullet - one that entered Helus' chest and struck his heart - that proved fatal.

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.

"It is also important to note that the news I have shared with you today, in no way diminishes the heroic actions both men exhibited at the Borderline", Ayub said. "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".

At a previous news conference late last month, Young explained that most of the victims were shot at close range, and that all of them had died quickly and could not have survived their wounds.

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