At a press conference on Friday, authorities revealed a tragic and heartbreaking detail in the death of Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus in the November 2018 mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.
An FBI report revealed that Sgt. Helus was struck by six bullets — five of those survivable said the Ventura County Medical Examiner — the sixth and fatal bullet came from a California Highway Patrol officer.
The heartbreaking news was announced by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub who said the situation unfolded in seconds while the gunman was lay in wait ready to ambush law enforcement officers.
“Sgt. Helus was struck five times by gunfire from the suspect. Both men [Helus, CHP officer] quickly retreated and fired their rifles at the suspect…the sixth bullet…was fired from the CHP officer’s rifle. Tragically that bullet struck vital organs and was fatal,” explained Sheriff Ayub.
“We believe that Sgt. Helus was clearly not the intended target of the CHP officer, which further illustrates the extreme situation both men faced,” added the Sheriff.
The medical examiner confirmed the fatal bullet struck Sgt. Helus in the chest and heart.
“The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us who are sworn to protect and to save lives,” said CHP Coastal Division Chief L.D. Maples. “This tragedy underscores the difficult and dangerous circumstances that law enforcement faces every day often with mere seconds to react.”
Chief Maples added that the CHP officer involved, who was not identified at Friday’s press conference, is a 9-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol with a military background and was devastated upon hearing of the FBI’s ballistics report. That CHP officer is currently not on duty.
“He’s taking some time off,” said Chief Maples.
Friday’s press conference was held at the East County Sheriff’s Station in Thousand Oaks. Watch the full briefing below: