THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) – A portion of the 101 Freeway was dedicated Wednesday to fallen Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed during the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks nearly one year ago.
A 3.4-mile section of the freeway between Hampshire and Lynn roads is now called the Sergeant Ronald Lee Helus Memorial Highway, which is adjacent to the Borderline Bar & Grill.
On Wednesday morning, a sign dedication ceremony was held for Helus.
“The Borderline building was where Ron proposed to his beloved wife Karen and where he bravely fought for the community he served,” state Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Ventura) said at the ceremony.
The 54-year-old Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, was one of 12 people killed when 28-year-old Ian David Long, a Marine Corps. veteran, opened fire on hundreds of people at the Borderline bar, located at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive, late on the night of Nov. 7, 2018. Long is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Helus left behind a wife and two adult children. His widow, Karen Helus, and their son Jordan unveiled the sign Wednesday.
“I just wanted to say thank you to Jacqui because I know how much love went into this, I know how much hard work went into this,” Karen Helus said. “And it just makes his life and his legacy keep going.”
Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first law enforcement officers to respond to the shooting. They entered the bar together.
Helus was struck by friendly fire during a shootout with the gunman, authorities said. He was struck by five rounds from the suspect’s gun and a sixth round from the rifle of the CHP officer. It was that sixth round which struck Helus in the chest and heart and ultimately killed him.
Along with his family, a large contigent of support staff from the sheriff’s office were also on hand for the ceremony.