Published Nov 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM | Updated at 5:10 PM PST on Nov 15, 2018
Memorial services were held Thursday for Ventura County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ron Helus.
Helus, 54, was killed during the mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7. He arrived within minutes of the first shots fired, bursting into the Western-style bar and confronting the gunman.
Helus was a 29-year veteran of the department. He leaves behind a wife and son. Karen Helus, Ron's wife of 29 years, called her late husband a hero.
"He is a hero, and I want him to be known for that, because that's what he did. He had a heart of gold. He would've done anything for anyone," she said in a "Today" show interview with 24-year-old son Jordan at her side.
During Thursday's service, Pastor Charles Maloney of the Camarillo Christian Church recited an emotional letter Karen wrote to her late husband.
"You were my husband and best friend. You were always the one who made me laugh, and protected me from all that tried to harm me. Thank you for being you; my hero, my love, and my life. I will always love you and hold a special place in my heart that is only for you. I know that when God saw you enter heaven, He said, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"
Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub also shared his memories of Helus.
"Ron dared to go where most would flee, and he selflessly ran towards gunfire to confront someone who attacked the innocent. He entered the nightclub with no other purpose than to defend the defenseless and to save their lives -- and lives he did save."
Law enforcement, relatives and friends packed the Westlake Village church to pay tribute to the sheriff's veteran, husband and father. Gov. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were among the dignitaries in the crowd, while others -- some who had never met Helus -- stood outside to watch the funeral on a cellphone.
Below, a look at Helus' service and procession in photos.