November 8, 2018 1:17 pm
Updated: November 9, 2018 4:24 pm

Here’s what we know about the victims of the California shooting

WATCH ABOVE: Jason Coffman, the father of victim Cody Coffman, briefly spoke about his son after confirming he was one of the 12 victims killed at the Borderline Bar and Grill mass shooting.

A A

Details about the 12 people killed after a gunman entered a California bar and opened fire Wednesday night are beginning to emerge.

Police say 29-year-old Ian David Long fired randomly into a crowd at Borderline Bar and Grill in the town of Thousand Oaks before they suspect he died by suicide.

READ MORE: California shooting: Ian David Long identified as gunman who killed 12

There is no known motive for the shooting, but officials say Long was a former U.S. Marine who may have suffered from PTSD.

The victims of the shooting included multiple students from nearby Pepperdine University, as it was college night at the bar.

The security guard at the bar, who was unarmed, was shot during the incident.

A police officer who tried to enter during the shooting was also shot, and transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Here’s what we know about the victims of the attack.

Story continues below

Cody Coffman, 22

Cody Coffman was killed during the shooting, his father Jason Coffman told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Coffman was in the process of applying for the Armed Forces, Jason said.

“Last thing I said was, ‘son, I love you.’ That’s the last thing I said,” he said, choking back tears.

“The companionship that I had with my son, the companionship he had with his two brothers, this will crush them.”

Jason said Cody will leave behind a legacy of love, and laughter.

Cody adored his siblings – three brothers between ages 6 and 9 – and he couldn’t wait for the birth of a sister, due on Nov. 29, said Jason Coffman of Camarillo.

“Cody was the big brother that my kids need,” he said. “He was so excited to have his first sister and now she’ll never know …”

READ MORE: After the U.S. midterm election — and another mass shooting — will there be gun reform?

He trailed off, sobbing, then said, “Oh, Cody, I love you, son.”

He said his son was passionate about baseball, serving as an umpire for a little league, and they went fishing together.

“That poor boy would come with me whether he liked it or not,” he said. “That’s the kind of stuff I am truly going to miss.”

Jason Coffman said he last spoke to his son Wednesday night before Cody headed to the bar where the gunman opened fire.

“The first thing I said was, ‘Please don’t drink and drive,”‘ he said. “The last thing I said was, ‘Son, I love you.”‘

Cody Coffman has been identified as one of the victims of the California bar shooting.

Facebook

Justin Meek, 23

Justin Meek was identified as a victim by family to ABC7 News.

Meek previously attended California Lutheran University. Its president Chris Kimball said Meek died “heroically.” “Cal Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring,” a statement from Kimball read.

Meek cared for children with special needs, performed as a singer and worked at the Borderline bar.

The campus chapel overflowed Thursday with people attending a service of mourning. Meek, 23, majored in criminal justice and graduated in May, school spokeswoman Karin Grennan said.

Since last summer, Meek had worked for Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver, supporting families with children with special needs, mostly developmental disabilities, chief executive Sharon Francis said.

“Parents just adored him. He was able to bond with their kids,” she said. “He was just an all-around guy.”

Danielle Gallo, who also works at the family-run organization, said he was dedicated to the kids he worked with.

“You could tell he really had a heart for what he did,” she said, sobbing.

Meek also toured professionally as an a cappella singer, said family friend Patrick Ellis, who called Meek a talented musician, singer and athlete and a “fantastic human being.”

“He was a hero every day of his life,” Ellis said. “It was just always positive energy. … Anything he could do for you, he was just there.”

Justin Meek

Facebook

Alaina Housley

Alaina Housley was just 18, a promising student at Pepperdine University with plans to study law, her family said.

Adam Housley, a former Fox News correspondent, and Tamera Mowry-Housley, an actress known for the 1990s TV series “Sister Sister,” said their niece was killed at the bar where she had gone line dancing with friends.

“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,” the couple said in a statement.

Alaina was bright, popular and well-loved, a student who had a 4.5 grade-point average since junior high school and earned college scholarships, said her grandfather, Art Housley.

She played soccer and tennis all through high school, studied piano and violin, and sang, he said.

“She’s a really good kid,” he said, fighting tears, before her relatives learned their fears of her death were true. “Everybody loves her.”

Alaina Housley was a victim of the California bar shooting

Twitter / amowreader

Sgt. Ron Helus 

Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office was hit by gunfire as he entered the bar to help. He was pulled out of the bar and transported to hospital, where he later died.

He is survived by his wife and adult son.

Sheriff Geoff Dean called Helus a “hero” and colleagues called him a smart and energetic officer.

WATCH: California bar shooting: Sgt. Ron Helus ‘died in the line of duty as a true hero’

“Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff’s sergeant,” Dean said. “He gave his all.”

Helus loved to go fishing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with his son, according to Sgt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, who worked with him for 29 years.

Sgt. Eric Buschow, who said Helus was a friend, described him as a “cop’s cop.”

“The fact that he was the first in the door doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “He’s just one of those guys that wouldn’t hesitate in a situation.”

Helus took up fly fishing a few years ago and loved pursuing the hobby in the Sierra Nevada mountains with his grown son, Buschow said.

“He was just a great guy, a gentle soul,” Buschow said. “Patient. Calm no matter what. When you call 911, he’s one of the guys you want showing up.”

Helus was on the SWAT team for much of his career and worked in narcotics and investigations, he said.

“If you were a victim of a crime, you want him investigating the case,” Buschow said. “He would go to the ends of the Earth to find a suspect.”

Helus was a 29-year police veteran with a wife and son who was looking to retire in the next year.

Facebook

Sean Adler, 48

Sean Adler, 48, was a security guard at Borderline who would stay late to ensure people could get home safely, said Debbie Allen, a longtime friend.

The married father of two boys died doing what he was passionate about – protecting people, Allen said.

“He was a very, very big personality and had a very, very gorgeous smile,” she said, adding that he had once considered becoming a police officer. “I don’t think in all the years I’ve known him, and it’s almost 30, I ever heard him say ‘no’ to someone.”

His other passion, she said, was coffee. Adler recently opened his own coffee shop, Rivalry Roasters, in Simi Valley, said Phil Englander, another longtime friend.

“He was just the most passionate person about coffee you would ever want to meet,” Englander said.

READ MORE: College students saved dozens in California shooting by throwing bar stool through window

Adler joked about being a “coffee dealer” and spoke energetically, using his hands, while people listened.

“He always had that energetic personality,” he said. “He’s just such a warm and friendly and passionate person about everything in his life.”

Englander said he stopped by the coffee shop Wednesday to visit Adler.

“We talked about family, and we reminisced about an old friend of ours we haven’t seen in years,” he said. “I woke up this morning to tragedy.”

A vigil is being held for Adler Thursday night at the coffee shop. Another one will be held Friday to include family travelling from out of town.

Noel Sparks, 21

Noel Sparks, a 21-year-old college student, loved going to the Borderline Bar & Grill, so friends and family were not surprised when she posted a photo of herself dancing there Wednesday night.

Her aunt Patricia Sparks of Morristown, Tennessee, said police informed Sparks’ father Thursday that she had died in the shooting.

“We’re in shock,” Patricia Sparks told The Associated Press.

She described her niece as an “all-around good girl. She was the kind of girl that if you had friends, you’d want them to marry her.”

Sparks was a regular at Borderline, where she spent Halloween and celebrated her 21st birthday in August. She often went there with friends and her mom.

When friend Jackie Jones heard about the shooting, she jumped into her car and headed to the bar shortly after midnight. She was determined to find Sparks.

“She would do that for me,” Jones said.

The two met through church two years ago and became fast friends. Sparks was artistic and a leader in church activities. She was majoring in art at nearby Moorpark College.

Sparks worked part time at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. She helped with children’s programs, the Rev. Shawn Thornton said.

“She loved kids. We had a lot of parents show up today to say, ‘She made my child feel important and that they mattered,” Thornton said.

Noel Sparks was a part-time staff member who worked at the church while going to college, was among the 12 people killed. – Facebook

Facebook

Telemachus Orfanos, 27

Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was a U.S. Navy veteran with a thick beard, an easy smile and a gladiator helmet tattoo. His friends called him “Tel.”

“Here are my words: I want gun control,” his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said, her voice shaking with grief and rage after learning her son was killed.

“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts.” She said wants Congress to “pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”

READ MORE: Las Vegas massacre survivor killed just 1 year later in California shooting

Photos on Orfanos’ Facebook page show the former Eagle Scout with friends at ballgames or at work. Some photos are embellished with patriotic graphics and another marks the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Daniel Manrique, 33

Manrique was a Marine Corps veteran who had started a Team Red, White and Blue chapter in Ventura County in an effort to help military members adjust to life as civilians, USA Today reported.

Friend Sarah Bergeron said she had “never met anyone in my whole life that was so selfless and committed to helping veterans succeed and just thrive.

“He never quit on people. He never gave up, even if someone tried to push him away. He always still reached out.”

Marky Meza

Meza, 20, grew up in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, northwest of Thousand Oaks, according to local television station KEYT.

“Marky was a loving and wonderful young man who was full of life and ambition,” his family said in a statement to the station. It added that Meza was just about to turn 21.

READ MORE: California shooter Ian David Long’s high school coach claims he assaulted her

Kristina Morisette

Morisette worked as the cashier at the Borderline, ABC13 reported.

“Kristina was just a ball of life,” said her friend Alexis Tait, 23. “If you were upset or in a bad mood, she was the person that would cheer you up even if she was upset. She would always put other people before herself.”

Blake Dingman

Dingman had played baseball at the Hillcrest Christian School in Thousand Oaks, according to the school’s website.

“We were really proud of him,” his aunt, Janet Dingman, told local media. “He was a really fun, energetic and loving nephew.”

Jake Dunham

Dunham, 21, of Newbury Park, California, was a close friend of Dingman’s, ABC News reported, citing family.

“Rest In Peace Jake. You were such a cool person. I wish you didn’t have to go it’s not fair at all,” Aaron Letulier wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

–With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.