Law enforcement, family mourn sheriff's sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks mass shooting

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Law enforcement, family and friends paid tribute Thursday to Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed last week in the mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks.

Helus, one of the first officers to the scene, was struck Nov. 7 as he entered the Borderline Bar & Grill and later died at the hospital.

In total, 13 people were killed in the shooting, including the gunman, who killed himself.

Sheriff's deputies remembered him as a "cop's cop." Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean called Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, a "hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant who was totally committed."

"He died a hero because he went in to save lives," Dean said during a news conference soon after the shooting while choking back a few tears.

Helus, 54, had planned to retire next year.

The memorial service was held at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village where Pastor Steve Day began the service by asking those in the crowd to stand and give Helus a standing ovation. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus also performed with a choir.

Helus leaves behind his wife, Karen, and son, Jordan.

Last week, hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects as a hearse carried his body from Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks to a coroner's office.

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