Mourners hold vigils for California shooting victims

Geraldine Edwards
November 10, 2018

Media captionJason Coffman: "The last thing I said was 'Son, I love you'".

The solemn 40-kilometre procession for Mr Helus took place as his body was taken from the hospital to a coroner's office.

He praised the murdered officer, a close friend, as a hero, saying: "He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price". By then, the shooting had stopped, and the suspect was found dead with a gunshot wound. 'There was just young people like young, 18, 19, 20 just having a great time.

"I was concerned because I knew he had been in the military", neighbor Tom Hanson said Thursday, as federal and local law enforcement officers searched Long's house, where an American flag flew over the garage.

Meanwhile, dozens of others attended a procession to honor Sgt. Ron Helus, who tragically lost his life after heroically running towards the gunfire to save others. "He was totally committed". Around 15 people, including several who were hurt "jumping out of windows, diving under tables", were also injured, he added.

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Soon after the shooting started, Sergeant Ron Helus, a veteran of 29 years, was first on the scene and entered the bar with another policeman. Some men ran toward them and said the gunman was coming. He was a cop's cop.

Deputies were called to Long's house in response to a disturbance in April this year and "felt he might be suffering from PTSD, the fact he was a veteran and had been in the corps", he said. He said he regrets not staying in the bar to help other victims. The suspect was found dead in the bar, the sheriff said according to KABC.

Map of California locating shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks.

"The mental health experts out there cleared him that day", Dean told reporters Thursday, less than 12 hours after the Wednesday night massacre.

'He reloaded and then just kept on popping them off, ' said Tim, John's stepdad. "He has always had a knack for investigations".

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Helus had been at the department for almost three decades, and was planning to retire within the next year, the sheriff said, choking back tears. "You can't go to a bar or nightclub?"

"To describe it as heroic", he trailed off for about a minute, as he stood about 300 feet from the bar. "When you call 911, he's one of the guys you want showing up".

Reports said there were around a 100 patrons inside the nightclub when the shooting began.

He is survived by his wife and adult son.

People comfort each other as they stand near the scene in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people November 8, 2018.

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Friends, family and communities gathered last night at multiple vigils in southern California to mourn the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire in bar on Wednesday.

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