WATCH: Crowds Line Streets to Honor Officer Killed in California Bar Shooting
Sgt. Ron Helus praised as 'epitome of a cop's cop.'
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Thursday to honor fallen Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus, who was killed while responding to a mass shooting at a bar overnight.
Law enforcement was ushering Helus' casket through town in a motorcade, and crowds began to line the streets as Harris Faulkner interviewed Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian on the incident.
A former Marine -- armed with a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun with an illegal extended magazine -- opened fire on a packed California country music bar Wednesday night, killing 12 people, including a veteran sheriff's sergeant nearing retirement, officials said.
Authorities believe Ian David Long eventually turned the gun on himself, but not before the 28-year-old, dressed in all black, terrorized a crowd filled with college students at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Long's body was found in an office near the entrance of the bar.
Sheriff Geoff Dean, who is set to retire on Friday, said Long may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was known to law enforcement officials due to several unspecified "contacts" stretching back multiple years. Long served in the Marine Corps from August 2008 to March 2013, with a deployment in Afghanistan between November 2010 and June 2011, military records show.
Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, a veteran of 29 years, arrived first on the scene and immediately entered the bar with a patrolman after hearing gunfire. But as the two made their way inside, Helus was shot several times. The patrolman pulled the sergeant from the line of fire, and Helus was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Thursday.
"This is a very close-knit community," Kuredjian said, adding that Thousand Oaks -- north and west of Los Angeles -- is a "pro-law-enforcement community" as well.
He called Helus "the epitome of a cop's cop."
Watch the interview and touching procession above.