Twelve people were killed in a late-night shooting at a California college bar Wednesday.
Students had gathered for college country night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday when shots rang out around 11 p.m. The event was for people 18 and over.
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54
While most of the victims are yet to be identified, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean revealed one of the victims was a 29-year veteran of the force, Sgt. Ron Helus.
Before responding to the call, Helus had been on the phone to his wife, Dean said. Helus and a colleague from the California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene within three minutes of the first calls and entered the bar, said Dean. When he went inside the building Helus "was struck multiple times with gunfire," Dean said.
"He was hard-working, he was totally committed, he gave his all and, tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero," Dean said at a press conference early Wednesday. "He gave his life to save other people."
Helus, 54, leaves behind a wife and a son. He was hoping to retire in the "next year or so," Dean added.
A procession to honor Helus is planned for 1 p.m. It will start at Los Robles Hospital and end at the Venture County Medical Examiner's Office, according to reports.
Cody Coffman, 22
Among the victims was Cody Coffman, his father confirmed to CBS Los Angeles on Thursday. The 22-year-old went to Borderline Bar & Grill every Wednesday to line dance, his dad said.
"We knew he was going there, to know he may not come home is another thing," Jason Coffman told the station.
As his son was leaving the house Wednesday night, Coffman told him not to drink and drive. "The last thing I said was, "Son, I love you,'" he added.
Before confirming his son was among the deceased, Coffman had shared his fears that his son had run toward the gunman in a bid to stop him. "That's the kind of boy that he is," he told NBC7.
He added that his son loved sports and was hoping to enter the military. He leaves behind two brothers, aged 6 and 8, and a sister who has not yet been born.
Alaina Housley, 18
Pepperdine University freshman Alaina Housley, 18, was at the bar with several friends for a night of line dancing. Her friends escaped the shooting but later said they’d lost her in the chaos.
Before she was confirmed as one of the victims, Alaina’s Apple Watch and iPhone showed her location as the dance floor.
The teenager was the niece of journalist and former baseball player Adam Housley, who is married to former “Sister, Sister” star, Tamera Mowry-Housley.
After learning Alaina was among the victims, the couple released a statement.
"Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks," the statement said. "Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner. We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."
She was an English student in the top 10 percent of her class. She aspired to attend law school, but was passionate about music, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Justin Meek, 23
Justin Meek, who was working as a promoter at Borderline Bar & Grill, was also killed in Wednesday night's attack.
Hours before the shooting, he shared a flier advertising the college country night on his Instagram page, writing: "See y'all tonight!! Say Justin at the [door]."
The 23-year-old was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, where he studied criminal justice. He "heroically saved lives in the incident," according to the university's president, Chris Kimball. Meek reportedly died as he protected Borderline patrons.
Sean Adler, 48
Another victim was Sean Adler, 48, a former coach for the Simi Valley High School wrestling team. He was a bouncer at the club and had just opened a coffee shop, a friend told The Los Angeles Times. He leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 17 and 12.
“He was just as a very caring guy that was a lot of fun,” said Debbie Nieser, who had known him since childhood. “He was someone that went after his dreams, someone who was always trying to find his dreams, someone who connected with many different types of people.”
"Lost a great guy last night," read a post on the wrestling team's Twitter page. "I coached with Sean at Royal and you couldn't have met a nicer guy. I’m sure plenty of people will be touched by this horrific tragedy. Make sure to remember the families, first responders and those who were there. They need you. Be there for them."
Noel Sparks, 21
A talented dancer, Noel Sparks, 21, was identified as one of the victims by the United Methodist Church Westlake Village, of which she was a member.
"She was genuinely caring, and loved serving people," friend Sarah Penrose told CNN. "She definitely left a legacy of selfless servitude."
Dan Manrique, 33
Dan Manrique was a 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran who headed up the Ventura County chapter of the nonprofit Team Red, White & Blue, which confirmed his death late Thursday.
We are heartbroken to confirm that Dan Manrique, Pacific Regional PM and Marine Corps veteran, was one of the victims of the Borderline shooting. We are aware that other members of our Team RWB family were directly impacted by the events. We will provide updates as we learn more. pic.twitter.com/lXVQWVx6NV— Team RWB (@TeamRWB) November 8, 2018
Telemachus Orfanos, 27
Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos, 27, was among the victims at Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday night, his heartbroken mother confirmed.
Just a year earlier, Orfanos was one of the lucky survivors of the Las Vegas concert shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos told KABC, emphasizing the need for gun control.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home,” she said. “He didn’t come home last night."
She added: “I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”
“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” - mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 8, 2018
Blake Dingman, 21
Blake Dingman, 21, was a local Newbury Park athlete who enjoyed playing baseball. His great-aunt Janet Dingman confirmed his death to the Pasadena Star-News.
“We were really proud of him,” she said. “He was a really, fun, energetic and loving nephew.”
Jake Dunham, 21
Jake Dunham's death was confirmed by his family. A friend of Blake's, the two were at the bar together when the shooting began.
Earlier on Thursday, Dunham's father, Ken, told NBC Los Angeles he was frantically searching for his son.
“I keep calling it but there’s no answer,” he said. “It just keeps ringing out. And he always answers his phone.”
Kristina Morisette, 20
Kristina Morisette was working at the front desk of Borderline Bar & Grill when the gunman stormed in.
The 20-year-old's parents confirmed her death to The Los Angeles Times.
“We didn’t want her life to end,” said her mother, Martha Morisette. “But we don’t want her memories now to end, either.”
Mark Meza, 20
Mark Meza, 20, grew up just northwest of Thousand Oaks. An alum of the Carpinteria Unified School District, his death was confirmed by the district in a statement.
“Mark was loved by many in our community and will be dearly missed. Please hold his family and friends in your hearts and thoughts at this difficult time," the statement read, according to KSBY.
Relatives tonight identified the 11th civilian gunned down Wednesday in Thousand Oaks as Mark Meza, from Santa Barbara and living in Carpinteria. His Facebook page says he worked at Sandpiper Lodge. #BorderlineBar #ThousandOaks #SantaBarbara #Carpinteria pic.twitter.com/2cb4kK6SvK— S.B. News-Press (@sbnpnews) November 9, 2018
He was just two weeks shy of his 21st birthday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the victims and their families.