Authorities say there were multiple injuries - including one officer - after a man opened fire in Southern California bar late Wednesday.
"It's a horrific scene in there", Dean said at a news conference early Thursday in the parking lot of the Borderline Bar & Grill. They say the gunman did not say anything.
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean, describing Sgt. Helus, said: 'He went into save lives, to save other people.
"Our organization's thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims that were affected by this bad act that took place in our area", McVay said.
Numerous patrons were local students from nearby California Lutheran University, ages 19 to 25, attending "College Country Night".
Dean said he has no doubt Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer who also was the first to respond "saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect". Some dived through windows while others hid in restrooms.
The gunman was dressed in a black trench coat and wearing glasses when he walked into the bar filled with people enjoying a night of line dancing.
Police identified 28-year-old Ian David Long as the suspect in the shooting at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar that left at least 13 dead, including the suspected gunman.
ABC Reporter Marc Brown said: "We are hearing that some of the people who were at Borderline, were also at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, scene of the worst mass shooting in modern USA history".
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"We are consistently ranked one of the highest with respect to lowest crime rate per capita, we're proud of that", Thousand Oaks mayor, Andy Fox, told CNN.
Helus was not only a 29-year sheriff veteran, but he was also a husband and father.
Located around 40 miles west of Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks was recently ranked as one of the country's safest cities.
Some men ran toward them and said the gunman was coming.
By the time they entered the bar again the gunfire had stopped, and they found 12 people dead inside, including Helus and the gunman. Neighbors told local news channel ABC6 that Long lived with his mother, who had expressed concern over her son's behavior.
When deputies arrived at the scene three minutes after the first 911 call, shots were still being fired, Dean said.
"I saw somebody on the floor as I was running to the front door to get out", he said.
Coffman said he bonded with Cody over outdoor activities - he coached his son in baseball starting from age 3 and the two often went fishing together.