One year after the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, a Charity Event for the slain officer, Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus was slated to be held. However, the money is now being returned to donors as Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel withdrew the police department because Trump supporters would be speaking at the event.
The Blue Bowl, a charity flag football game, was intended to raise money for the fallen officer’s family, as well as other officers, killed in the line of duty, FOX 11 of Los Angeles reported.
Sgt. Helus, a 29-year veteran of the force, was one of 12 people who died last Nov. 7, when a 28-year-old suspect allegedly attacked the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. The suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities have said.
Donors had kicked in thousands of dollars to help fund the charity event, but according to Fallen Officers Foundation Vice President Mike Randall, everything came to a screeching halt when Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel learned that some of the speakers scheduled for charity event are Republicans, KTTV reported.
According to the text messages between Randall and Chief Hagel, Hagel was seen expressing his concern that those speakers would cause local political issues.
He then asked Randall on a phone call why Trump supporters were included in the bipartisan list of speakers scheduled to address the crowd.
“He basically said over and over in the conversation ‘This is not Trump country,’ that slogan ‘Make America Great’ is not favorable, popular, within 1,200 square miles, that we don’t want Republicans here,” Randall told KTTV.
“I could not believe it. … We were totally floored by this comment, ‘the only thing,’ and I quote, ‘the only thing you coulda made this worse, Mike, was to invite Dick Cheney and Sarah Huckabee Sanders,’ and I went…wow are you kidding me?” Randall recounted.
Randall added that Hagel told him to get rid of the Republican speakers or the police department would withdraw. They finally did pull out.
“He goes ‘yeah, this ain’t gonna work for us,’” Randall told KTTV. “I said you’re not gonna support this with the honor guard and he goes ‘no we’re not bringing the honor guard, we’re not coming, we’re not going to be there, [we’re] not supporting it.’”
As a result, politicians and sponsors also abandoned the charity event, causing it to be postponed indefinitely.
Although Hagel managed to postpone the event, Randall said his foundation won’t back off its commitment to help Sgt. Helus’s family.
“Ron Helus was a true hero,” Randall told KTTV. “He saved lives that night. Did he run in and go ‘Are you Republican or Democrat or independent, I need to know before I help you?’ No, they don’t.”
“You’ve messed with the wrong foundation,” he said.
The funds raised for the Blue Bowl event—somewhere between $9,000 and $10,000—will be returned to donors, KTTV reported.