(ABC NEWS)- The officer who was killed in Thousand Oaks told his wife he loved her before running in to confront the gunman at the Borderline Bar and Grill Wednesday night.
Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was speaking his wife on the phone “as he does several times during the shift, and said to her, ‘Hey, I got to go handle a call, I love you,'” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said during a press conference Thursday morning.
Helus is survived by his wife and son. The sheriff’s department and the wider community are mourning the “hero” officer today, who was one of the 12 people killed in the mass shooting in Southern California.
“He was a great man,” Capt. Garo Kuredjian, the force’s public Information officer, told “Good Morning America” Thursday. “He was a cop’s cop, and we miss him. We miss him already and we’re in mourning as an agency. We’re in mourning as a community.”
There were hundreds of people packed inside Borderline Bar and Grill when a gunman burst inside throwing smoke grenades and firing dozens of rounds, witnesses and authorities said.
Helus was one of the first on the scene and was struck multiple times when he went through the front door, the sheriff’s office said. Dean said Helus undoubtedly saved lives by going in to confront the gunman.