Sergeant Ron Helus was one of the first responders to the shooting at a country bar in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday night (Nov. 7). Today the veteran sheriff is remembered as a family man and hero.

Sgt. Helus died trying to stop the rampage, CNN reports. A gunman burst through the doors and deployed a smoke device before opening fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill. Twelve people were killed, including Helus, and another person also suffered a gunshot, while as many as 15 others were injured trying to escape the shooting spree during a scene that is being described as absolute chaos.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean confirmed Helus' identity.

"He went in to save lives, to save other people," Dean says. "He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero."

The L.A. Times reports that before entering the bar, Helus called his family. He's survived by his wife and son.

John Rich and Charlie Daniels were two artists to quickly recognize his act of bravery on Twitter. Rich, in particular, is an outspoken defender of police and first responders. "Join me in asking the Holy Spirit to pull those families close this morning," he tweeted.

Other confirmed victims in the Thousand Oaks shooting include Alaina Housley, the niece of former Fox News reporter Adam Housley and Sister, Sister actress Tamera Mowry-Housley; 22-year-old Cody Coffman; 23-year-old Justin Meek; Sean Adler; 21-year-old Blake Dingman; Marine Corps veteran Daniel Manrique; dancer and artist Noel Sparks; 27-year-old Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos; 21-year-old Jake Dunham; Mark Meza; and Kristina Morisette.

The shooter has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, described as a Marine veteran with PTSD. He was found dead at the scene, and Dean says he is believed to have killed himself.

Country Stars Respond to the Thousand Oaks Shooting

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