Sgt. Ron Helus, Killed In Borderline Shooting, Laid To Rest Today
Memorial services were held Thursday for the Ventura County sheriff's sergeant who was killed last week after entering the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks to confront an active shooter.
Helus' body arrived at the Calvary Community Church in Westlake at 11:00 a.m. as hundreds of law enforcement officers stood by at attention, saluting his casket. According to the San Bernardino Sun, busses carrying officers from "as far as Arizona" drove to the church for the service.
The service was held in front of a large screen upon which a photo of Helus was projected, along with the words, "In Memory of Sergeant Ron Helus, July 21, 1964 - November 8, 2018." Helus' casket was placed at the center of the stage and draped in an American flag.
Towards the beginning of the service, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus sang "Amazing Grace," backed by a choir dressed in all black.
Pastor Steve Day of Calvary Community Church told the assembled crowd that 30 years ago, Helus proposed to his wife at the restaurant that would later become the Borderline Bar and Grill.
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub took the podium to eulogize Helus, telling mourners that Helus "dared to go where most would flee...he entered the nightclub with no other purpose than to defend the defenseless."
Ayub called Helus a hero, noting that in his near-30-year career, Helus--an "intense guy"--was always engaged, constantly working on improving himself and his skills. Ayub noted how frequently Helus talked about his son Jordan, and "how proud he was of him."
Adding that he community owes Helus a debt of gratitude, Ayub closed his remarks and the services' eulogies by noting that in his final moments, Helus imparted a lesson to us all: "fearlessness in the face of certain danger, and selfless services to the community he lived in."
"You truly are a hero," said Ayub.
On Nov. 7, Sgt. Ron Helus responded to calls about a shooter that poured in to the Ventura County Sheriff's office. He went into the bar through the front door and was gunned down during the confrontation. A California Highway Patrol officer pulled Helus out of the line of fire, but Helus later succumbed to his injuries at Los Robles Regional Medical Center.
In total, 13 people died that night, including Helus and the shooter.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean believes that many more may have lost their lives that night had Helus not stepped in, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"There's no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect," Dean told reporters.
After 29 years on the force, Helus was approaching the end of his career and planning to retire next year, reportedly hoping to continue his work as a firearms instructor after recently obtaining his master's degree in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma. He was 54.
Helus is survived by his wife and son.
1:47 p.m.: This article was updated with quotes and a description of Sergeant Ron Helus' memorial service.
This article was originally published at 7:00 a.m. on November 15, 2018.
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