Officer responding to mass shooting at Thousand Oaks bar was killed by friendly fire: authorities

Alex Lasker

The officer who was gunned down while responding to a mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, last month was killed by friendly fire, according to authorities.

Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, was shot dead on Nov. 7 while responding to calls of an active shooter at the Borderline Bar & Grill, a sports bar popular among college students.

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said during a Friday press conference that Helus, 54, was struck by six bullets, five which were fired by the suspect, 28-year-old Ian David Long, and one which was discharged from a California Highway Patrol officer's weapon.

Officials said that while the injuries inflicted upon Helus by the gunman may have been survivable, the patrol officer's bullet struck a vital organ and likely caused the wound that killed him, KTLA reports.

The officer who fired the fatal shot, a 9-year veteran of the department, has voluntarily taken time off from the position, according to a California Highway Patrol spokesman.

In total, 12 victims, including Sgt. Helus, perished in the deadly attack, many of them young students who attended colleges in the surrounding area.

The gunman, a former U.S. Marine, was also found dead at the scene from a self- inflicted gunshot wound.