Thousands of mourners have turned out to honor the police officer who was killed as he attempted to apprehend a gunman as he went rampaging through a California bar. Sgt. Ron Helus sacrificed his life attempting to save others when he sprinted into the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks after receiving reports of shots fired. Just a couple minutes earlier, a former US Marine had entered the bar and opened fire on those attending a country music night. Some twelve people were killed.
Officers from all over the state of California stood to attention outside Calvary Community Church in suburban Los Angeles as Helus’ body was wheeled past in a flag-draped coffin. As officers saluted, the hymn “Amazing Grace” was played. It was a powerful moment of respect and honor for an officer who gave everything in the line of duty. Tragically, Helus was just months away from retiring when he was killed, having spent almost three decades on the force.
Country music star Billy Ray Cyrus attended the service and paid his respects with some stunning words. “I’m probably going to have to change the definition of hero,” he said. “From now on it can just be a picture of Ron Helus.”
Cyrus went on to perform his song “Some Gave All” in honor of the heroic police officer. The lyrics go as follows:
“All Gave Some, Some Gave All
Some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some Gave All”
Hundreds of police officers, family members and friends congregated in the church for the service, with many more lining the streets outside. “I heard he was a hero. He went in there in the line of duty to try and save people and deal with a crazed man,” said Peter Orr who has been staying in a nearby hotel and decided to show up for the funeral to pay his respects.
“Ron entered to defend the defenseless and save their lives, and lives he did save,” said Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub in his eulogy, according to CBS News. Just before entering the Borderline, Helus spoke to his wife on the phone. “I love you. I’ll talk to you later,” he said. Those would be his final words. Helus is also survived by a 29-year-old son.
A humble father and husband as well as a highly qualified firearms expert, Helus was always looking to do his job with excellence and always looked forward to going home to his family at the end of the day. “Support your team, complete your mission, go home to your families,” he’d often say.
Pastor Steven Day, who was leading the service, read several letters from family members and friends.
“If you called him a hero he’d probably laugh at you and say he was doing his job,” wrote Pastor Charlie Maloney.
His wife, Karen, called Helus her personal hero.
“You were my husband and best friend,” she wrote. “You were always the one who made me laugh and who protected me from all that tried to harm me.”
“I know that when God saw you enter heaven he said, ‘Well done, faithful servant,'” Karen concluded.
Do pray for the family, friends and colleagues of this heroic man as they grieve his loss.