THOUSAND OAKS — A sheriff's deputy who died in a mass shooting at a Southern California bar was shot five times by a gunman who massacred 11 others, but the officer was killed by friendly fire, authorities said Friday.
Sgt. Ron Helus was fatally shot in the heart by a California highway patrolman who had joined him in a firefight with the gunman at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said.
"It was just a tragic detail that unfolded so rapidly, in my view it was unavoidable," Ayub said. "They were ambushed almost immediately."
Ayub said the fatal shot did not diminish the heroism shown by the officers. The CHP officer was not identified, but is a nine-year veteran of the force who is on leave.
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a statement the agency is "profoundly saddened to learn of new details emerging from the horrific incident."