In a heartbreaking turn to last month's mass shootings in Thousand Oaks, California, the Sheriff's sergeant, who was slain under twelve that night, was fatally beaten by a friendly fire in a chaotic shootout, the authorities said.
Eleven bartenders and Ventura County sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus was killed in the bar on November 7, allegedly by 28-year-old Ian David Long.
Long had stormed the venue and fired more than 50 shots, killing 13 people.
Amid the chaos and confusion, Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer who responded to him were almost immediately attacked by Long on the run of bleeding bartenders, who fired several rounds at them Friday's press conference.
Helus was hit five times by Long, but the injuries were "potentially capable of surviving," said Ventura County Medical Examiner. Christopher Young, on Friday.
Both officers retreated quickly and fired Long, Ayub said.
The CHP called a "violent firefight." A sixth bullet fired by the CHP officer hit Helus in the chest and heart, authorities said.
This sixth bullet caused the most serious injuries, Young said. "This bullet hit vital organs and was deadly," Ayub said.
It was not clear if the officer's bullet was accidentally shot on Long or intentionally fired.
CHP Coastal Division Chief L.D. Maples called the message "devastating".
The involved CHP officer is a nine-year veteran of the agency with a military background and has been "devastated" by the police, said the CHP.
From Friday he was currently not in use.
"I warmly extend my sincere condolences to Sgt. Helus' family, friends and the men and women of the Sheriff's Office of Ventura County," Maples said.
Maples emphasized, "The blame for this tragedy lies with one person – the suspect."
The sheriff repeated Maple's feelings.
"He alone has created the violence," said Ayub Long. "The burden lies with him alone – not with those who have tried to save lives."