Sergeant killed in mass shooting at California bar was graduate of OU

Ventura County officer Sgt. Ron Helus.(Courtesy: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)

A sheriff's sergeant killed while responding to a mass shooting at a California bar was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

University of Oklahoma spokesperson Kathleen Kesler says that Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus graduated from the OU Extended Campus Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership program in 2016.

Helus was the first officer inside the door Wednesday night after 28-year-old Ian David Long began opening fire at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. 11 people inside the bar were killed alongside Helus. Authorities believe Helus was struck multiple times before being dragged out of the building by a highway patrolman.

It is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since 17 students and teachers were killed in a February 2018 shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida. Authorities say Long took his own life, ending the attack.

Interim Dean of the OU Extended Campus and Associate Provost Martha Banz remembered Helus as an excellent student.

“It was my privilege to have Ron as a student in one of my courses back in 2016,” Banz said. “He was a ‘shining star’ student, one of the best and most responsible I’ve ever had.”

Banz says that Helus was planning to pursue doctoral work after he retired.

“Through all of his coursework, as well as through our interactions since, it was clear that he was a person of impeccable character and integrity—wise, compassionate, reflective and insightful,” Banz said.

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