UPDATE: Ian David Long, 28, was identified by police Thursday morning as the gunman who killed 12 people in a California bar shooting the night before.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Julie Novak remembered fallen colleague Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed after responding to calls of gunshots at a Southern California bar Wednesday night.

Police said 13 people -- including the gunman -- are dead after shots rang out at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks around 11:20 p.m.

Helus, a veteran of 29 years, arrived first on the scene and immediately entered the bar with two California Highway Patrol officers after hearing gunfire. But as they made their way inside, Helus was shot several times. The patrolmen pulled the sergeant from the line of fire, and Helus was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Thursday.

"Ron was an amazing guy. He probably should have retired a couple years ago. He could have, but he stayed on because he loved the fight, he loved helping people, he loved protecting people," Novak said.

"And he did exactly that tonight by running in to this building to save people's lives where there was gunshots. And he's just nothing but a hero right now."

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Novak said Helus just happened to be in the area and "responded immediately" to the call, along with the two California Highway Patrol officers, who let go of a traffic stop to assist.

"Of course, Ron decided to take lead because that is who he is. So he entered the door first and immediately took gunfire," Novak said. "The two CHP officers who were very brave immediately grabbed onto him and performed officer rescue and drug him all the way out and got him on to the ambulance, where he was transported to the hospital and died."

Watch the interview above.

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