Sgt. Ron Helus had been set to retire in the next year from the Ventura County, California Sheriff's Office when, responding late Wednesday to a call of a shooting, he entered the Borderline Bar & Grill.
It would be the last act of a 29-year law enforcement veteran described as hardworking and dedicated and, now, as a hero.
Helus was among the first officers through the door at the Borderline. He died trying to stop the rampaging gunman, who killed 11 others in the attack in Thousand Oaks, California.
"He went into save lives, to save other people." Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said of Helus, his voice breaking.
"He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero," he said.
Helus succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, police said. He is also survived by a son.
"It's so tragic losing Ron," Dean said. "We go to the gym together, work out together. it's horrific and terrible and it saddens our hearts."
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