Officer killed in Thousand Oaks shooting struck by friendly fire

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Six bullets struck Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus at the Borderline Bar & Grill Nov. 7 and one came from a California Highway Patrol officer’s rifle.

At a news conference Friday morning on the Thousand Oaks shooting, Sheriff Bill Ayub announced the shot by friendly fire was fatal for Helus.

The other five shots came from Ian David Long, 27, of Newbury Park. Long walked into the country bar in Thousand Oaks and opened fire on bar patrons, killing 12 people before turning the gun on himself.

Ayub put the responsibility for the deaths, including Helus’, squarely on Long. 

The event is the second major update offered by investigators in less than two weeks.

At a Nov. 27 conference, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub and FBI officials said a motive had yet to be determined although there was no evidence that the suspect in the shooting, had been radicalized.

Using a legally purchased gun equipped with an illegal extended magazine, Long fired more than 50 rounds into the crowd and threw smoke bombs.

Law enforcement officers, including Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, responded to the scene within minutes and entered the bar where they were immediately met by gunfire. Helus was fatally struck multiple times.

Long struck 13 people with gunfire, only one of whom would survive.

In the days that followed the shooting, FBI investigators worked alongside sheriff’s homicide detectives to collect hundreds of pieces of evidence from Borderline and Long’s home. An estimated 90 FBI investigators were on scene for eight days to survey the crime scene and Long’s home, Ayub said on Nov. 27.

Digital media from Long also was found, which will be investigated by the FBI, Delacourt added. He said a shooting reconstruction was being created although it would not be completed for some time.

This story will be updated. 

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