Deputy died from friendly fire in California bar gun battle

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At the time of Helus' death, the Ventura County Sheriff's office hailed him as a hero.

Young told reporters officials were aware of Helus' injury but that they waited to release the information before getting confirmation from Federal Bureau of Investigation ballistics analysis.

As terrified people scrambled out of broken windows, screaming and bleeding and fleeing a mass shooting inside a California bar, Sgt Ron Helus and a highway patrolman made a decision to try to stop the gunman, running in together with assault-style rifles to what turned out to be an ambush.

"This was something that unfolded just over the course of a few seconds", Ayub said. "We believe that Sgt. Helus was clearly not the intended target of the CHP officer".

"These bullets caused serious injuries, but potentially survivable injuries", said Dr. Christopher Young, Ventura County's chief medical examiner. "Sgt Helus and the CHP officer both knowingly and willingly went into what can only be described as a combat situation, risking their own lives to save others". "Today, I'm deeply saddened to inform you that Sgt. Helus was also struck by a sixth bullet, which we now know, through forensic analysis by the FBI's crime laboratory, was sacked from the CHP officer's rifle".

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"It is also important to note that the news I have shared with you today, in no way diminishes the heroic actions both men exhibited at the Borderline", Ayub said.

CHP Coastal Division Chief L.D. Maples called the news "devastating".

There's no new information regarding a motive in the mass shooting, the sheriff said. Ayub said after Long shot bar patrons and employees, he waited for law enforcement to respond and then "almost immediately" began shooting at them.

The CHP officer was not identified, but is a nine-year veteran of the force who is on leave.

The shooting took place on the night of November 7 when a 28-year-old Newbury Park man opened fire on the packed Borderline Bar and Grill, popular with college students and recent graduates from nearby California Lutheran University. "When we broke the news to our officers, without a script, literally the first words out of each of the officers were 'that poor officer, ' and the Helus family has reacted that way too".

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"We were aware of the injuries sustained by Sgt. Helus, but we needed confirmation from ballistics, and it wasn't certain that it was friendly fire", Young said.

Ayub was adamant that the burden lies exclusively with Long.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley added in a statement, "The mere thought of something like this happening is devastating to all of us and underscores the hard and unsafe circumstances law enforcement faces, often with only mere seconds to react".

"I delivered the message to him yesterday, he had no clue it was coming", Maples said.

Officials didn't have much else to update about the investigation on Friday, nothing more on the motive or the exact timeline of events - just the news that broke all their hearts, most of all that of the patrolman, who learned of the bad mistake for the first time on Thursday.

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