These are the victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California
At least 12 people were killed and a dozen more injured when a gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California on Wednesday night.
Among those killed were a Navy veteran, a cappella singer who worked as a caregiver, and a security guard with a "big personality", who was known for staying late to make sure everyone got home safely. The victims' stories are full of heroism and here we remember them.
Cody Coffman, 22
Before his death, Cody Coffman was talking to recruiters in the hopes of becoming a part of the military and dreamt of serving his country for a long time. His father remembered their last conversation before his son headed out to the Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday night, telling reporters: "First thing I said was, 'Please don’t drink and drive.' The last thing I said was, 'Son, I love you.'"
Justin Meek, 23
Justin Meek was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, where he studied criminology and criminal justice, and taught line dancing at the Borderline Grill & Bar. He also toured professionally as a cappella singer, said family friend Patrick Ellis, who called him a talented musician, singer and athlete and "a fantastic human being."
When the shooter opened fire, he reportedly began pushing people out of the way to safety and barricaded himself between them and the gunman. The 23-year-old died a hero, with the mother of a young man with autism, who Justin had been assisting with social skills for the last year, saying: "I knew he would be right out there protecting people."
Alaina Housley, 18
Alaina Housley was a student at Pepperdine University and the niece of former Fox News reporter Adam Housley and his wife, actor Tamera Mowry-Housley. For seven hours after the shooting, her friends and family hadn't heard from her. Her Apple Watch and iPhone continued to show her location on the dance floor of the bar, leading her family to fear she had been shot. "My gut is saying she’s inside the bar, dead. I’m hoping I’m wrong," Adam told the Los Angeles Times.
After she was confirmed as one of the victims, her parents described her "kind, smart, beautiful and respectful". "Words can't describe our grief over losing our daughter, Alaina. She was everything we could hope for in a child," they wrote.
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54
Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, was talking to his wife on the phone when he got the call to respond to a shooting. According to officials, he told his wife, "Hey, I have to go. I love you. I’ll talk to you later."
The father-of-one was the first officer to arrive at the scene, along with a California Highway Patrol officer. As part of deputies’ training for an active shooter situation, he knew he had to enter the building immediately and try to stop the gunman. Ron went inside the bar and exchanged gunfire with the shooter; he was shot several times and died in hospital on Thursday morning. He was due to retire next year.
Daniel Manrique, 33
Daniel Manrique was a Marine Corps radio operator who had recently been hired by Team Red, White & Blue, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans. Writing about the 33-year-old's death, his sister Gladys Koscak said on Facebook:
“He was shot and killed in an absolutely senseless act of violence that we will never understand. He had spent his entire adult life, post military service, helping veterans readjust to civilian life. I have no doubt that he died a hero, shielding others from gunshots. He will forever be our hero, son, brother, and the best uncle anybody could ever ask for.”
Telemachus Orfanos, 27
Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos survived the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in Las Vegas in 2017, but died in the Thousand Oaks shooting on Wednesday. Speaking about the two incidents, his mother Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, told Buzzfeed: "He came home. And he didn’t come home last night."
She also pleaded for gun control, stating she didn't want prayers for her son's death. “I have two words. Gun control now, now, now, now. No more NRA, no more money, gun control now, thank you," she said.
Kristina Morisette, 20
Kristina Morisette worked the front desk at Borderline and was among the first people to be confronted by the gunman. Friends and acquaintances remembered her as a sunny young woman, who would always welcome everyone with a friendly smile.
“She is one of the most innocent people on the face of the planet, like one of the sweetest people,” Dylan Short, a 24-year-old from Simi Valley told BuzzFeed, adding that he couldn’t understand how anyone would use violence against her.
Sean Adler, 48
Sean Adler was a longtime resident of Simi Valley and had opened a coffee roasting business less than three weeks before the shooting. However, on Wednesday, he was working as a bouncer at the Borderline.
The married father of two boys reported attempted to disarm the shooter, but died doing "what he was passionate about": protecting people. He is remembered by friends as a "warm, friendly and passionate" man with big personality, who was known for staying late to make sure everyone got home safely.
Noel Sparks, 21
Noel Sparks was a Moorpark College student who was a dedicated churchgoer. Her death was confirmed by the United Methodist Church Westlake Village in a Facebook post and soon after, heartbroken friends took to social media to remember her.
An old teacher described her as "an angel" putting: "She was always an angel in class, to her classmates and her family. Noel and I spent much time together reading and doing math. She is a beautiful girl and with wonderful soul."
Blake Dingman, 21
Blake Dingman was a Newbury Park resident, who played high school baseball at Hillcrest Christian School in Thousand Oaks. His aunt Janet Dingman confirmed that he was a victim, stating: "We were really proud of him. He was a really, fun, energetic and loving nephew."
Jake Dunham, 21
Jake Dunham was allegedly at Borderline with his friend, Blake Dingman, when he was killed. The 21-year-old grew up in Newbury Park and spent his time off-roading, riding dirt bikes, and camping.
Mark Meza, 20
Mark Meza was an alum at the Carpinteria Unified School District, who would have turned 21 later this month. In a message to parents, the school remembered him as a beloved member of the community. "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," they wrote.
Rest in peace.