Sheriff’s sergeant killed in Southern California shooting called wife before rushing into bar

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus was on the phone with his wife minutes before he rushed into a Southern California bar to respond to reports of a shooting.

"(He) said to her, 'Hey I got to go handle a call. I love you. I'll talk to you later,'" Sheriff Geoff Dean said.

Helus was the first responder and was immediately hit with multiple gunshots when he entered  Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks about 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Dean said he has no doubt Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer who also was the first to respond "saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect."

He called Helus a hero.

"He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price," he said.