(CNN)Back in April, officers in Thousand Oaks, California, responded to a disturbance at the home where Ian David Long lived.
CNNs Jose Pagliery, Shimon Prokupecz, Scott Glover, Paul P. Murphy, Cheri Mossburg, Ryan Browne, Sonya Hamasaki and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
Ventura County Sheriffs Office remembers fallen colleague Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed after responding to calls of gunshots at Californias Borderline Bar & Grill.
But when Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer entered the bar about 11:20 p.m., gunshots were already piercing the room. He and the CHP officer went inside, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, who held an emotional news conference outside the bar early Thursday morning.
He died a hero: Sheriffs sergeant dies in California bar mass shooting
The California sheriff's sergeant first on the scene at Wednesday night's mass shooting heard gunfire booming inside the bar and instinctively ran into the crowded venue — where he "died a hero," one of 12 people killed by a former Marine who ended the massacre by committing suicide.
Video: At least 11 injured in shooting at California bar
Telemachus Tel Orfanos, 27, survived mass shooting in Las Vegas but not one in his hometown Thousand Oaks
Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus – who was nearing retirement in about a year — "gave it his all" but was shot multiple times by 28-year-old gunman Ian David Long and later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Helus was a 29-year veteran of the force with a wife and grown son and planned to retire in the coming year, said the sheriff, who choked back tears several times as he talked about a man who was also his longtime friend.
The first reports of shots fired at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks came in around 11:20 p.m. on a night the packed bar was hosting a special "College Country Night" event. Dean said Helus made one last call before heading to the scene: to his wife.
His Facebook profile listed him as a veteran of the Navy. According to a 2009 article in his hometown newspaper, the Thousand Oaks Acorn, he was also an Eagle Scout. Under a photo of the then-18-year-old Orfanos, the newspaper reported that his Eagle Scout project involved public safety at Thousand Oaks High School, and that he’d earned it as a member of Troop No. 765 of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Sgt. Ron Helus was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire inside Borderline Bar and Grill. (Ventura County Sheriffs Office)
Helus was having a conversation with his wife on the phone at the time he got the call about the shooting, as he does several times during his the shift, according to Dean.
“And I dont want prayers, I dont want thoughts, I want gun control,” Schmidt-Orfanos said, her voice breaking with the rawness of her emotions. “And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”
Video: Deadly Shooting At Bar In Southern California
"He said to her, 'I gotta go handle a call, I love you. I'll talk to you later,'" he told reporters.
Telemachus Orfanos, who survived the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in Las Vegas a year ago, was again with friends and fans of country music when he was shot and killed in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday.
The sheriff said it was only three minutes later that Helus made entry to the bar with two California highway patrol officers. The cops believed there were other victims still trapped in the bar, but as Helus entered the front door, he was struck "multiple times" by gunfire.
“They knew they had to take action, and they went in and did what they had to do," Dean said.
"You know we go to the gym together, work out together, and its horrific and terrible and it saddens our heart," said Dean, who appeared visibly emotional and on the verge of tears.
"There's just no way to describe this," he said. "It saddens us all and it tears at our hearts and emotions as it should."
Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos lost his life in the Borderline Bar and Grill, less than 10 minutes from his home.
His colleague, Sgt. Julie Novak, told "FOX & friends" that Helus was "an amazing guy" who loved helping people.
"He probably should have retired a couple years ago, he could have, but he stayed on because he loved the fight," Novak said. "He loved helping people, he loved protecting people. He did exactly that tonight."
Ventura County Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus was a 29-year veteran of the department, and was planning on pursuing his doctorate degree, according to his LinkedIn. (Facebook)
Novaks said that Helus went into the building with "no idea" what to expect — only knowing he wanted to help those inside.
Thousand Oaks shooting: These are the victims and their stories
The California Highway Patrol officers that accompanied Helus into the bar ended up rescuing him when Long opened fire.
Ventura County Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus was looking to retire in the next year or so, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. (Facebook.)
Helus' LinkedIn page showed he was an FBI certified firearms instructor and a POST — Peace Officer's Standards and Training — instructor. He earned a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma, and had planned to pursue a doctorate degree in the "near future."
This was College Country night at the bar, where police say there were hundreds of people inside during the shooting.
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"I have thousands of hours of specialized training," he wrote." I work or have worked, the following assignments: Custody; patrol (Deputy, Senior Deputy, Sergeant); SWAT; all aspects of firearms, less lethal, and chemical agents instruction; investigations; narcotics; and wellness advisor."
Tyler Spady describes the terrifying moment the gunman aimed at the crowd he was in at Californias Borderline Bar & Grill.
“Dan’s life was dedicated to serving others, during his military career and beyond,” said John Pinter, executive director of Team RWB. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Manrique family and ask that our Eagles around the world join us in keeping all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”
Father, Between Sobs, Says Oldest Son Was Killed in California Mass Shooting: This Is So Hard
In a series of tweets, President Trump praised Helus and the "great bravery shown by police."
"California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times," the president said. "That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement."
"The thoughts of every #NYPD member this morning are with the families & colleagues of all those killed or injured in the shooting inside a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar — 12 innocent lives taken, including the first Ventura County cop on the scene: Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran," New York Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill said.