THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - A Ventura County sheriff's sergeant was among the 12 people killed during a mass shooting at a country bar Wednesday night, authorities said.
Sgt. Ron Helus responded to a report of shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California at 11:30 p.m. and was killed "saving other people," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. "He went in to save lives."
Helus, a 29-year veteran, was set to retire in the next year from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. He was described as a hard-working and dedicated hero.
Helus was among the first officers through the door at the Borderline. He died trying to stop the rampaging gunman, who killed 11 others.
"He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero," Dean said.
Helus succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, police said. He is also survived by a son.
"It's so tragic losing Ron," Dean said. "We go to the gym together, work out together. it's horrific and terrible and it saddens our hearts."
Families and friends of other people who were at the bar during the "college country night" were frantically searching for loved one's Thursday morning.
An emergency hotline was set up to locate victims and survivors. It is 805-465-6650.