A sheriff’s sergeant who was on the verge of retirement was killed in the shooting at Borderline nightclub in Thousand Oaks, California, overnight Wednesday.
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, of Moorpark, was the first victim identified. At least 11 other people are dead.
“It tears at our hearts and emotions, as it should,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said of all the victims and their families. “If we get to the point that it doesn’t, then there is something wrong with us.”
PHOTOS: Mass shooting at nightclub in Thousand Oaks, California
Dean, who said Helus was a friend who often went to the gym with him, said Helus went into the club to save lives. Helus and a highway patrol officer entered the nightclub when they knew what was happening. Dean said that’s when Helus was shot.
“Ron was a hard working, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant,” Dean said. “He was totally committed. He gave his all. And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero.”
Helus, who served on the force for 29 years, is survived by a wife and son.