Mass shooting in Southern California nightclub leaves 12 dead - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Mass shooting in Southern California nightclub leaves 12 dead

LAS VEGAS — Ten days after the mass shooting that left 11 people dead at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, another mass killing occurred in a Southern California nightclub that took the lives of 11 patrons and a Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant. The gunman died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities said at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday night, 28-year-old former US Marine, Ian David Long, (above) wearing all black with his face partly covered, deployed a smoke device and fired a .45 caliber handgun into a crowd of patrons at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, a popular country music bar.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus from VCSD

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said that sheriff’s office Sgt. Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrolman responded to the bar, heard gunfire and went inside.

Helus was struck multiple times by gunfire as he confronted the gunman. Helus was later declared dead at a hospital.

Sheriff Dean said Helus had been talking to his wife when the shooting call came in.

He said to her, “Hey I got to go handle a call. I love you. I’ll talk to you later.

The 29-year sheriff’s department veteran was about a year away from retirement.

The Borderline Bar and Grill was often frequented by California residents who were survivors of the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre. One survivor was inside the bar when the shooting occurred but escaped without injury.

Sgt. Ron Helus sacrificed his life to save others. He did not hesitate to make entry into the bar.

Retired Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Captain Curt Rothschiller told the Baltimore Post Examiner on Thursday, “Ron Helus followed his training and engaged the bad guy a soon as he arrived on scene. He was an ex-narcotics detective with SWAT experience who had extensive training in dynamic entries. Ron saved numerous lives by putting himself in harms way. That’s what we get paid to do.”

Retired New York City Police Department Detective Frank Serpico told the Baltimore Post-Examiner, “Most unfortunate about Sgt. Ron Helus, a true hero.”

The Baltimore Post-Examiner extends our condolences to the families of those killed.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.

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