Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ron Helus faced the threat and saved lives - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ron Helus faced the threat and saved lives

LAS VEGAS —  Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ron Helus responded to an active shooter call at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California and arrived on the scene in three minutes on November 8.

Upon arrival, Helus along with a California Highway Patrol Officer heard the gunshots and without hesitation went through the front door and confronted the shooter.

Helus was shot several times in the firefight with the gunman and was pulled from the bar by the highway patrol officer that he had entered with.

Sadly, Helus died later at a hospital.

Eleven patrons of the Borderline Bar and Grill were killed, and 10 others suffered injuries. The gunman committed suicide inside the bar.

Sgt. Ron Helus is a true blue hero.

His actions during the active shooter incident that fateful night saved the lives of countless others.

Helus and the highway patrolman didn’t stand by and wait for backup.

They knew that the bar was filled with people who were under fire and did what society expects any law enforcement officer to do in a similar circumstance; react to the threat and save lives to the best of your ability.

No one wants to see any law enforcement officer lose their life in the line of duty, however, that is an inherent risk that goes with the job.

When you take that oath to protect the public and pin that badge on your uniform every day before you go off to work, you accept the fact that the day might come when you have to put your life in jeopardy to save the lives of others.

Like hundreds of thousands of others, when I was on the job, I accepted that responsibility. That’s what I got paid to do. Nobody forced me to become a cop. I wasn’t under a contract, I could have left the job any time I wanted if I found myself questioning my devotion to the profession.

Helus’ actions were in sharp contrast to the inaction of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Field Training Officer Cordell Hendrex on the night of the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre.

Hendrex, along with his partner, Eliff Varsin, and three armed Mandalay Bay Hotel security supervisors retreated on the 31st floor, one floor below gunman Stephen Paddock and failed to make any attempt at all to reach Paddock as his gunfire was ongoing.

Hendrex and Varsin’s police radios were blaring the horror that was occurring at the Route 91 Harvest music festival across Las Vegas Boulevard.

For several minutes as they retreated on the 31st floor, they all heard the radio traffic that officers were pinned down, taking fire and that innocent civilians were being shot and killed.

As other police officers where risking their lives to get into the Mandalay Bay Hotel to reach the shooter to stop the threat, Hendrex and his armed contingent remained safely on the 31st floor and took no action.

Remember 58 people died and over 400 were hit by gunfire on October 1, 2017.

Sgt. Ron Helus didn’t freeze.

Sgt. Ron Helus didn’t hesitate.

Sgt. Ron Helus didn’t stop to pray.

Sgt. Ron Helus didn’t retreat.

Sgt. Ron Helus knew exactly what he had to do.

Because of the actions of Sgt. Ron Helus and the highway patrolman, lives were saved on the night of November 8, 2018 in Thousand Oaks, California.




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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