A sheriff's deputy killed in a shooting at a California bar was struck fatally by a bullet from a highway patrolman, it has emerged.

Sgt Ron Helus was shot five times by gunman Ian David Long on 7 November at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

But it was the bullet from a California highway patrolman that struck his heart and killed him, according to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub.

The highway patrolman was among a number of officers who were involved in a shoot-out with Long.

Mr Ayub said: "It was just a tragic detail that unfolded so rapidly, in my view it was unavoidable.

"They were ambushed almost immediately."

Mr Ayub said the fatal shot did not diminish the heroism shown by the officers.

The highway patrolman was not named, but he is a nine-year veteran of the force who is on leave.

Image: Mourners watch the procession carrying the body of Ron Helus

Mr Helus was among 12 people who died in the shooting.

He had served 29 years in the police and was due to retire.

He had been on the phone to his wife when the emergency call came in, telling her: "Hey I gotta go handle a call. I love you. I'll talk to you later."

More from California

Long's motives are still unclear.

After the shooting, he killed himself.

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