It’s been a sobering week in Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus’s Moorpark neighborhood. He was beloved by those around him, but not just because of his service, but because of who he was. Sergeant Helus was known as someone who greeted everyone with a wave and a smile.
Dean Schafer lived down the street from him for more than 15 years.
"He had a gentle demeanor and kindness and always had a story to share at the mailbox," said Schafer.
Schafer says that the sergeant was planning on retiring in the next year to spend more time outdoors and with family.
"He would always share how he would love to go to mammoth and go fishing with his son and you could tell how much he loved his family," said Schafer.
Schafer grieves for Helus’s wife and son, but feels grateful that the sergeant’s quick actions spared his own son's life.
"It’s insane to truly grasp that it was the same guy that was living on my block that sacrificed his life to ensure the safety of everyone else," says Schafer's son, Eric, who was at the Borderline Bar and Grill the night a gunman entered the bar shortly before midnight.
As the younger Schafer, his friend Logan, and everyone else in the bar, were trying to escape the gunfire, Sergeant Helus was charging in to confront the shooter.
"Man of the utmost courage, he put his life ahead in front of everyone else to ensure the security of others," said the younger Schafer.
The 54-year-old sheriff sergeant was one of the 12 people killed at the Borderline bar shooting in Thousand Oaks last Thursday. A 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, he answered the call to serve, but before going in, spoke with his wife and told her I love you for what would end up being the last time.
"The sheriff sergeant was struck multiple times by gunfire, he passed away at the hospital," said the Ventura County Sheriff.
The day Sergeant Helus was killed, hundreds of people turned out to watch his body being transported from the hospital. Family, friends, and colleagues, but also strangers all lined the streets to give the hero one last salute.
Back in Moorpark, White roses line the path to his front door, where an American flag still flies.
"What he did was the most heroic thing I have witnessed in my life," said Eric Schafer.
Sheriff Sergeant Ron Helus will never be forgotten for his bravery on that November night in Thousand Oaks.