Captain Gary P. Jones [retired]
1967 - 1993

1993 - 2003

Author of:
Badge 149 - "Shots Fired!"
"Saints, Sinners, Survivors"


In the month of November twelve (12) law enforcement professionals lost their lives while serving and protecting us. Here is that awful list:

Corporal Travis Wells (age: 46)
Dallas P.D., North Carolina
E.O.W.: November 1, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Sergeant Ronald Lee Helus (age: 54)
Ventura County Sheriff's Office, California
E.O.W.: November 8, 2018 (Gunfire)
*** See additional comments below ***

Officer Jared William Franks (age: 24)
Greensboro P.D., North Carolina
E.O.W.: November 10, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Officer Toshio Hirai (age: 34)
Gardena P.D., California
E.O.W.: November 15, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Officer Jason Michael Seals (age: 35)
Slidell P.D., Louisiana
E.O.W.: November 17, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Officer Samuel Jimenez (age: 28)
Chicago P.D., Illinois
E.O.W.: November 19, 2018 (Gunfire)
*** See additional comments below ***

Officer Leann Simpson (age: 23)
Philadelphia P.D., MS.
E.O.W.: November 24, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Officer Hunter Edwards (age: 30)
Winchester P.D., Virginia
E.O.W.: November 24, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Officer David Romrell (age: 31)
South Salt Lake P.D., Utah
E.O.W.: November 24, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)

Deputy Antonio Hinostroza (age: 45)
Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department
E.O.W.: November 25, 2018 (Traffic-Related Death)
Note: Deputy Hinostroza's death reportedly was the 45th traffic-related death this year (per the NLEOMF) .

Trooper Robert E. Nagle (age: 67)
New Jersey State Police, N.J.
E.O.W.: November 26, 2018 (Cancer victim from 9/11)

Deputy U.S. Marshal Chase White (age: 41)
U.S. Marshals Service (D.O.J.)
E.O.W.: November 29, 2018 (Gunfire)
Ventura County Sheriff's Office (California)
E.O.W.: Thursday, November 8, 2018
On November 7, 2018, Sergeant Ronald Helus responded to an active shooter call at a local bar in Thousand Oaks, California. He had been on the phone with his wife when the first reports of gunfire came into the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. It was around 11:20 p.m. and he told his wife he had to go to handle a call. He told her he loved her, hung up and then responded to the scene of the shooting. That phone call would be the last words Sgt. Helus said to his family.

Law enforcement arrived at the shooting scene three minutes after the first 911 call was received. Sgt. Helus was one of the first officers to arrive. He observed at least 100 people fleeing from the bar and also heard gunfire still coming from within the very popular nightspot. The bar is located near several colleges and it was college night. Later, it was reported that there were nearly 200 college students inside the bar.

The male gunman, who was dressed in all black, was armed with a Glock .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun. This weapon usually holds 10 rounds in the magazine, plus one round in the chamber. The gunman, however, used extended magazines in his weapon.

The gunman was a 28-year old ex-Marine with combat experience, in Afghanistan. It is reported that he threw smoke grenades into the large group of people in the bar, apparently wanting to obstruct what they could see. He also used a flashlight and a laser sight which was attached to his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Reports indicate that he killed 12 of the 13 people who he shot. The recently released coroner's report also stated that the gunman stabbed one of the shooting victims in the neck, but it is unclear why he did this.

The gunman was obviously prepared to kill many more people than just the 12 he eventually murdered. He had seven of these 30-round high-capacity magazines with him. He had used just two, and he still had five remaining that were unused.

In California it is reportedly illegal to buy and/or possess these high-capacity magazines. The gunman may have purchased these magazines in a neighboring state, where they are not illegal. The Glock handgun used by the gunman was purchased legally .

Apparently, without any hesitation at all, Sgt. Helus and another officer, from the California Highway Patrol, entered the bar. When they did they were apparently immediately ambushed by the gunman. After the gunman's initial attack inside the bar he took up a tactical position and waited for law enforcement to arrive. He reportedly had more than 150 bullets left when he stopped shooting patrons of the bar, so he could ambush the arriving officers.

During the vicious exchange of gunfire between the gunman and Sgt. Helus and the CHP officer, Sgt. Helus was shot six times. According to the coroner's report, it is possible that Sgt. Helus might have survived the injuries he received from the initial five bullets that hit him. All of these five bullets were fired by the gunman. But, the sixth bullet, which was fired by the California Highway Patrol officer's rifle, hit Sgt. Helus and killed him. The gunman was not hit by any of the officers' return fire and he eventually shot himself.

To this day, the gunman's motive for this terrible atrocity remains a mystery. The gunman may have suffered from PTSD, but this unproven possibility does not excuse his actions. Millions of military veterans, law enforcement professionals and American civilians too, have PTSD, and they don't go out and murder innocent people.

Although this newsletter is about law enforcement professionals, and many of the issues involving them, I felt it was important for me to briefly mention the other 11 victims that died along with Sgt. Helus that horrible day. They were all victims of a senseless and horrendous act of violence. They each had a lifetime of happiness and prosperity before them and they did not deserve to die the way they did.

Among those killed were the bar's bouncer, who wanted to be a police officer, but couldn't be because of medical reasons. One young girl was a Pepperdine University student. One 22-year old male had been meeting with recruiters and he planned to join the Army. Another 23-year old male was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, where he majored in Criminal Justice and Criminology. His future plans were to join the U.S. Coast Guard.

Perhaps most ironic, though, was the murder of ex-Marine sergeant Daniel Manrique, who like the gunman, had once deployed to Afghanistan. Now, this ex-Marine had dedicated his life to helping other emotionally scarred veterans. For him to be murdered by another ex-Marine, who may have had PTSD, was so sad and senseless.

And, there was the young man who had survived the mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas, last year on October 1st. He came home from Vegas, but now he was murdered at the California bar.

Sgt. Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, by his actions, was indeed a hero. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters, "There's no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect."

Sheriff Dean also stated, "He went in to save lives, to save other people." "He was totally committed, he gave his all."

"And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero."

Sgt. Helus was getting ready to retire soon, probably next year.


Want to make a donation?

If you would like to make a donation to the family of Sergeant Ron Helus, the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association has set up two methods. 

Go Fund Me at

Or donations can be made by check or electronic deposit to the Ventura County Credit Union Account by mail to 6026 Telephone Road, Ventura, CA. 93003 or Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, 981 S. Victoria, Ventura, CA. 93003

Checks payable to: VCDSA FBO Ron L. Helus

Account Number: 0001914460 01
Routing Number: 322283505

For further information, please contact the Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association at

Chicago Police Department (Illinois)
E.O.W.: Monday, November 19, 2018

Dr. Tamara O'Neal (age: 38) had planned to marry Juan Lopez (age: 32), but a few weeks before the wedding she changed her mind and she broke off the engagement. On Monday, November 19th, Lopez confronted Dr. O'Neal in the parking lot outside Mercy Hospital, in Chicago. She had just finished up her emergency room shift at the hospital and Lopez knew exactly where to find her.

When Dr. O'Neal saw the subject Lopez she was scared and she called 911. She told the 911 operator that she feared for her life. She apparently also told someone in the parking lot that she was afraid too. Lopez confronted Dr. O'Neal and he said that he wanted his engagement ring back. Another individual who saw the confrontation tried to intervene. Lopez reportedly lifted his shirt and showed that he had a handgun with him. Lopez was armed with a Glock semiautomatic handgun. This other individual fled into the hospital and apparently called 911 too.

The confrontation quickly turned violent and Lopez pulled out his gun and shot Dr. O'Neal. The young woman fell to the ground. One witness, who looked out of the hospital window, said that Lopez stood over Dr. O'Neal and shot her three more times. Reports indicated that Dr. O'Neal was shot a total of at least six times.

Prior to the Mercy Hospital shootings Officer Jimenez (age: 28) had been delivering his station's mail to the post office. Then, when police units were dispatched, he followed along with some other squad cars that were racing to the hospital. When the first police units arrived at the scene Lopez turned his attention to them and he fired multiple shots at the responding officers, even before they had a chance to exit their police vehicles. Then, he fled into the hospital. Officers gave chase.

I don't know if Officer Jimenez was one of those initial officers who was fired on as they arrived at the hospital parking lot. But, from the reporting that I've read, it appears that he was. The young officer, and others, quickly entered the hospital and engaged the subject Lopez and he exchanged gunfire with the police for several minutes inside the hospital.

This is when Dayna Less (age: 25), a civilian pharmaceutical assistant, was shot. Ms. Less, a first-year resident in the hospital's pharmacy, was in the elevator and when the doors opened and Lopez shot her.

Lopez apparently wanted to shoot even more innocent individuals. One female, when she heard the gunfire, hid in the pharmacy. She heard someone jiggling the handle of the locked door and she was almost sure that this was the gunman trying to get in.

Lopez and a SWAT officer were eventually engaged in a running firefight as the gunman fled down a hallway. His Glock handgun had a magazine that contained up to 16 rounds, and he fired more than 30 shots. He reloaded his weapon, at least once. During this exchange of gunfire Lopez was shot once in the abdomen, apparently by the SWAT officer.

Lopez eventually put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger. An autopsy report indicated that Lopez actually died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. The self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head was listed as a secondary factor to his cause of death.

Lopez reportedly had a past history that involved some questionable interactions with other females. One female even requested a protection order against him.

He also had a history involving guns too. He apparently had a permit to possess a concealed firearm. I find this very surprising and strange, especially because Illinois is one of three states where it is very difficult to obtain a CCW permit. California and New York are the other two states.

It is also interesting to note that Illinois currently has some of the nation's most stringent gun laws, yet Chicago has one of the highest murder rates of any U.S. city.

From the different accounts that I've read, I'm not really sure when exactly Officer Jimenez was shot, or even where it happened. Officer Jimenez was struck in the neck, just above the bulletproof vest he was wearing.

Officer Jimenez was hailed a hero because he didn't hesitate to run towards the gunfire. Yes, other Chicago P.D. officers did too, but Officer Jimenez made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Those officers that responded today saved a lot of lives, because this guy was just shooting," Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said.

Officer Jimenez's parents were from Puerto Rico, and he was the youngest of nine siblings. The young officer is survived by his wife and three children.


Want to make a donation?

If you would like to make a donation checks can be mailed to Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union.

Please make check payable to Crystal Garcia and mail to:

Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union
Attn: Crystal Garcia/Jimenez Account
1407 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

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The overwhelming majority of the men and women in law enforcement are intelligent, dedicated and brave individuals. They are always on the alert for trouble and when it occurs they will usually move towards it, and not run away from it. The heroic actions exhibited by Sergeant Ronald Helus (Ventura County Sheriff's Office) and Officer Samuel Jimenez (Chicago P.D.) clearly demonstrate just how true this is.

We all know what happened this past February, in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The media has covered this mass shooting in great detail, as they should. Much has been written and talked about regarding the behavior of some of the first responders who were at the school. The leadership of the Broward County Sheriff's Office, at the scene, and at the agencies upper management level, has also been criticized too. Unfortunately, much of this criticism seems to be valid.

What transpired in Parkland, again in my opinion, was not how the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement professionals would conduct themselves, under similar circumstances.

I can truthfully say that during my 36 plus years in law enforcement I have never personally witnessed an officer to act in a cowardly manner. Yes, a few may have been overally cautious and maybe even a bit timid at times, but never what I would consider to be cowardly.

God bless our brave men and women of the law enforcement profession, and their families too!
It is a fact that suicides involving retired military personnel, and law enforcement professionals, occur at a much higher rate than that of the general population.
2nd book
In my book I discuss suicide and the law enforcement profession.
2nd book

In my book I also described my volunteer work with my local 2-1-1 crisis hotline, which also handled the Suicide Prevention Lifeline calls for the Tallahassee area. If you would like to help and make a difference you might want to volunteer with your local 2-1-1.
I started doing these Badge 149 Newsletters in January 2018, but not everyone began receiving them right away. I've added new people to my e-mail list each month, so some of you may have missed one, two or more of my first few Newsletters. A link has now been added to my web site so you can go back and read all of my original Newsletters that I have mailed out.

 If you have already purchased one of my two books, thank you! If you enjoyed the book(s) I would ask you to consider writing a short review of the book, either on Amazon or at my publisher's online bookstore. My publisher's online bookstore is at:
(You can also just click on the "Book Review" Logo above)

Go to the "True Crime" section to read the book reviews already there, or to make a new one.

Book signing in Michigan
Gary P. Jones, Captain [retired] | |