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Ventura County DA rules that shooting by sergeant, officer at Borderline Bar & Grill was justified

Ventura County District Attorney's Office

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The Ventura County District Attorney's Office announced that their review into the circumstances surrounding the 2018 Borderline Bar & Grill shooting has been completed.

DA Gregory Totten said the investigation revealed that shots fired by Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ronald Helus and California Highway Patrol Officer Todd Barrett during the event were justified.

In a video message, Totten explained that whenever an officer-involved shooting results in death or serious injury, it is investigated thoroughly by the DA to determine if the officer violated the law when he acted.

The DA's Office ultimately concluded that no responding officers committed any crimes during the incident.

The report confirms both agents acted reasonably, and their use of
deadly force in self-defense and defense of others was justified.

The mass shooting happened shortly after 11 p.m. on November 7, 2018.

Borderline was hosting college country night when a gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, opened fire on patrons before taking his own life.

12 people were killed that night, many of whom were college students.

Totten explained that, had Long still been alive, he would have faced 12 counts of first degree murder with special circumstance of multiple murder -- making him eligible for the death penalty. He also may have faced counts of pre-meditated attempted murder.

Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus was one of the first law enforcement officers to arrive at the scene. When he and a CHP officer entered the bar to courageously confront the deadly shooter, Helus was accidentally shot and killed by friendly fire. A portion of Highway 101 was named in his memory.

California Highway Patrol released the following statement in response to this ruling:

"The findings reveal the terrible circumstances law enforcement officers faced and confronted that night.  The actions of Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus, along with CHP Officers Todd Barrett and Lidia Espinoza, on November 7, 2018, saved more people from being killed.  It is still with a heavy heart that we remember the sacrifice made by Sergeant Helus, who lost his life trying to save others.  Thank you to all law enforcement personnel that responded.  We will always remember those who were senselessly killed that night and know their loss will never be forgotten."

CHP - Moorpark Area

To view the District Attorney's remarks in full, click here.

To read the DA's full report on this deadly shooting, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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