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Memorial service planned for sheriff's sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks mass shooting

Memorial service planned for sheriff's sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks mass shooting
Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus (Ventura County Sheriff's Office)

A memorial service for Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed in the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks last week, is scheduled for Thursday, authorities said.

The service is to begin at noon at Calvary Community Church, 5495 Via Rocas, Westlake Village, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

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There will be a short procession and graveside service immediately following the memorial event at Pierce Brothers Valley Mortuary and Cemetery, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village.

Parking will be limited and authorities are encouraging attendees to carpool.

Helus, 54, responded Wednesday night to Borderline Bar and Grill immediately after the 911 call came in at 11:20 p.m. Helus went through the front door as gunshots rang out from inside the dance hall.

The sergeant died at Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Twelve other people were killed, including the gunman.

Police said Saturday that an autopsy determined that the shooter died from a self-inflicted wound. Most authorities agree Helus' quick actions almost certainly lessened the potential body count from the attack.

The conventional wisdom about police responses to mass shootings was fundamentally changed the day two students walked into Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and killed 13 people. Police SWAT teams waited nearly 45 minutes to enter the building. Studies of the incident have concluded that direct confrontation with an active shooter can greatly reduce the number of victims.

Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was on the brink of retirement.

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