Ventura County Sherriff’s Department Sargent Ron Helus was killed by friendly fire, according to information revealed today.
Sheriff William Ayub said that Helus and an unnamed CHP officer entered the Borderline Bar & Grill on the night of Nov. 7 and immediately engaged in a firefight with the suspect, identified as Ian David Long. Helus and the CHP officer returned fire and retreated, Helus having been struck five times by Long’s bullets.
It was then that Helus was struck by a sixth, one fired from the CHP officer’s rifle, striking Helus fatally in the heart. Twelve people were killed during the shooting in total.
“This news is extremely difficult for all of us to process and understand,” said Ayub.
Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Chris Young said that the bullet that killed Helus was retrieved at the Los Robles Hospital where he was taken following the incident and that the five other bullets that struck Helus caused “serious but potentially survivable injuries.”
Though the friendly fire was the catalyst that ended Helus’ life, Ayub placed the blame squarely on Long.
“It is important to remember that the horrible circumstances at the Borderline Bar & Grill were caused by the evil actions of one individual,” said Ayub. “The man who murdered 12 people and injured 22 others, he alone created the violence and he alone carries the responsibility for his actions.”