Hero cop shot in California bar massacre was killed by colleague's bullet

Evarado Alatorre
Diciembre 8, 2018

Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, was close to retirement when he was killed.

Young told reporters officials were aware of Helus' injury but that they waited to release the information before getting confirmation from Federal Bureau of Investigation ballistics analysis.

Twelve people, including Helus, were killed when Long opened fire in the popular bar during a "college country night" event about 11:20 p.m. on November 8.

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.

Ayub said the accident was, in his view, "unavoidable".

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub asserted this was a "dynamic and chaotic event" and Sgt. Helus was clearly not the intended target.

The bullets fired by gunman David Long "caused serious injuries but potentially survivable injuries", Ventura County Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Young said. Authorities also did not mention whether Helus was shot by the CHP officer before or after he was shot by Long.

The bullet that killed Sgt. Ron Helus was sacked by a fellow law enforcement officer, says Ventura County Sheriff William Ayub; Jeff Paul reports from Los Angeles.

"I think I can speak for all of our officers and for the Helus family and say once you are over the shock of hearing the news and you have a moment of clarity, you realize what the sheriff said here: It doesn't change the fact that he shot Ron five times in an ambush", Hagel told the Acorn.

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CHP Coastal Division Chief L.D. Maples described the CHP officer, a nine-year veteran, as a "consummate professional" with a "well-trained military background".

It took about 15 minutes after the first report Helus had been shot for authorities to pull him from the building, and another 21 minutes before authorities announced they were re-entering.

"The burden lies exclusively with him", Ayub said, "not 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".

"Helus was struck five times by gunfire from the suspect, both men quickly retreated and fired their rifles at the suspect", Ayub said.

Officials didn't have much else to update about the investigation Friday, nothing more on the motive or the exact timeline of events - just the news that broke all their hearts, most of all that of the patrolman, a nine-year veteran, learned of the bad mistake for the first time Thursday. And we love you for that. "The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us and underscores the hard and unsafe circumstances law enforcement faces, often with only mere seconds to react".

"I delivered the message to him yesterday, he had no clue it was coming", Maples said.

"We were aware of the injuries sustained by Sgt. Helus, but we needed confirmation from ballistics, and it wasn't certain that it was friendly fire", Young said.

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

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