Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean shared an account of the heroic actions of six off-duty police officers at the bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, California in Wednesday night, saying they used their own bodies to protect at least one of the young women on hand.
Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine, allegedly opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill killing 11 patrons, as well as a Ventura County sheriff who responded within minutes to the scene. Long is believed to have taken his own life as law enforcement moved in.
Fox News reported that approximately 150 to 200 people were in the bar for “Country College Night.”
Dean told reporters on Thursday morning that there were at least six off-duty police officers who were in the Southern California night spot, just north of Los Angeles.
Sheriff: Off-duty officers used themselves as human shields during the #ThousandOaks bar shooting in California. https://t.co/ar0GJ3n9w8 pic. twitter.com/qsGIdwKrdk
— FOX 10 Phoenix (@FOX10Phoenix) November 8, 2018
Dean said the officers were from multiple agencies and were unarmed at the time of the attack..
“I already talked to a parent who said, ‘They stood in front of my daughter,’ so it was amazing,” recounted the sheriff.
Dean and Sgt. Julie Novak with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department became emotional when talking about their colleague Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, who was shot leading a group of three officers into the bar as gunfire rang out inside.
Just a short time ago @VENTURASHERIFF Geoff Dean gave a news conference speaking to reporters about fallen Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus #ThousandOaksShooting #ThousandOaksStrong pic. twitter.com/TEwavvO7pK
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) November 8, 2018
“He was totally committed. He gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives,” Dean said.
Novak told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that Helus could have retired a few years ago, “but he stayed on because he loved the fight.”
“He loved protecting people, and he did exactly that tonight by running into this building to save peoples’ lives where there were gunshots. He’s just nothing but a hero right now,” she added.
“He loves protecting people, and he did exactly that tonight…he’s just nothing but a hero” -Sgt. Julie Novak of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept. describes her colleague, Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed responding to the California bar shooting pic. twitter.com/ibNO0LLOnX
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) November 8, 2018
California Gov. Jerry Brown recognized the heroism of Helus and the others in law enforcement in responding to the shooting.
“Our hearts ache today for the victims of this heinous act and our deepest condolences are with the Thousand Oaks community and those who lost friends and loved ones,” he said in a statement.
“We are grateful for law enforcement and others, including Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who took heroic action to save lives tonight,” Brown added.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted condolences to those impacted by the shooting, and also commended the first responders who were at the scene.
.@POTUS & I have been briefed on the attack in Thousand Oaks, CA. Our hearts are with the victims, survivors, & their families. A heroic sheriff’s sergeant was killed. We commend the action of all first responders…
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) November 8, 2018
President Donald Trump has ordered the flag to be flown at half staff at the White House and all public buildings “out of solemn respect for the victims.”
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.