A gunman opened fire Wednesday at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, killing 12 people.
The popular establishment hosts “College Country Night” on Wednesdays, and it was full of young people that evening.
An additional 23 people were injured and released after receiving treatment at local hospitals, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
“They are just kids,” an eyewitness who identified himself as Tim told ABC 7, struggling to hold back sobs. “They’re all young. This shouldn’t have happened to them.”
According to records maintained by the Gun Violence Archive, this latest tragedy was the 307th mass shooting this year.
These are the victims:
Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus
Ron Helus, 54, a sergeant in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, was among the first to respond to the shooting, heading into the bar as the bullets flew. The veteran officer, who was married with an adult son, had been on the force 29 years and planned to retire within the next year.
Helus also owned a firearms training business.
“When he heard the gunfire, he ran in. He ran in and no doubt saved others,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian told CNN afterward. “That’s what cops do. That’s what he did.”
Cody Coffman had just celebrated his 22nd birthday and was planning to join the military, his father told reporters on Thursday.
“Oh, Cody. I love you, son,” Jason Coffman said through sobs, leaning on his father-in-law. “This is going to be an absolutely heart-wrenching time for me and for my family... For me, this is a heart that I’ll never get back.”
Jason remembered his son as a talented baseball player in high school and a fishing buddy “who would come with me whether he wanted to or not.”
“I cannot believe it has happened to my family,” he said. “I am speechless and heartbroken.”
Cody was “the big brother that my kids need,” the grieving father said. “I have a daughter coming on 29 of this month. He was so excited to have his first sister and now she’ll never know him.”
The last thing he said to Cody was a warning not to drink and drive, and then this: “Son, I love you.”
Justin Meek, 23, graduated from California Lutheran University in May, where he sang the national anthem as a member of a quartet.
Meek worked as a bouncer at Borderline, a family friend told 10News, and reportedly broke windows at the bar to help people escape as the violence unfolded Wednesday night.
His alma mater confirmed the news of his death in an email to the community Thursday.
“The Cal Lutheran community is filled with sorrow over the violent events that took place last night a few miles from campus in Thousand Oaks,” the statement read. “Sadly, we have learned from the family that a recent graduate, Justin Meek, 23, is one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy. Meek heroically saved lives in the incident.”
“Cal Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring.”
Alaina Housley, 18, was at the bar along with a group of around 20 other Pepperdine students at the time of the shooting. Witnesses told Pepperdine’s student newspaper, the Pepperdine Graphic, she was last seen on the dance floor.
A woman who identified herself as Housley’s roommate pleaded early Thursday morning for information on her whereabouts:
Housley’s aunt, actress Tamera Mowry, confirmed Housley’s death in a statement Thursday afternoon:
“We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks,” the actress and her husband, Adam Housley, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “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.”
Sean Adler, 48, worked as a bouncer at Borderline. He’d formerly worked as a strength and conditioning coach for the Royal High School wrestling team in Simi Valley, California, according to a Facebook post by the team.
“He was positive, motivational, and truly wanted the best for the people around him,” the post read.
“Lost a great guy last night,” a wrestling coach who’d worked with Adler wrote on Twitter. “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.”
A friend of Adler’s told CBS Los Angeles that Adler owned a coffee shop in Simi Valley and was a single father with “a couple kids that he adored and loved.”
A friend of 21-year-old Blake Dingman confirmed to ABC 7 that he was among those shot and killed Wednesday. Dingman was an avid automotive and off-roading enthusiast.
“You can’t go anywhere anymore,” a childhood friend of Dingman’s, Tucker Gibson, told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “I came here from L.A. when I was two because my mom wanted to get away from danger.”
United Methodist Church of Westlake Village identified 21-year-old Noel Sparks as a shooting victim in a post on Facebook. Sparks was a student at Moorpark College near Thousand Oaks.
“It is with heavy hearts that we notify you that Noel Sparks was among the victims of last night’s shooting,” the church wrote in a statement. “We grieve with Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson.”
Sparks’ friend Sarah Penrose remembered her on Facebook as “always so joyful to help others and fill needs.”
“Even though we knew something was very wrong after we hadn’t heard from her all morning and others were connecting with their loved ones,” she wrote, “it doesn’t make this heartbreaking news any easier to bear.”
Daniel Manrique, a 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran, also died in the Borderline shooting.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that Dan Manrique, Pacific Regional PM and Marine Corps veteran, was one of the victims of the Borderline shooting,” veterans group Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) wrote on Twitter, noting that “other members of our Team RWB family” had also been affected by the shooting.
Manrique had been deployed to the Middle East as a Marine in 2007, reported ABC News.
After his time in the Marines, Manrique worked for a Los Angeles nonprofit that served veterans with mental health issues and had recently joined Team RWB in a full-time role.
Team RWB staffer and childhood friend Jacklyn Pieper described the veteran as “selfless” to publication Task and Purpose.
“He was all about giving back to the veterans community and creating that community,” Pieper said. “He talked a lot about the isolation that veterans feel when they return home without continuity or consistency, and he just wanted to extend his arm around whoever else felt that.”
A family member, Gladys Manrique Koscak, wrote on Facebook that Manrique was “killed in an absolutely senseless act of violence” and that he spent his time “helping veterans readjust to civilian life.”
“I have no doubt that he died a hero,” Manrique Koscak wrote. “He will forever be our hero, son, brother, and the best uncle anybody could ever ask for.”
Telemachus Orfanos died in the Thousands Oaks shooting, after having survived the mass shooting at the Las Vegas concert last year.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn’t come home last night,” his mother Susan Schmidt-Orfanos told ABC News through tears. “And I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”
Schmidt-Orfanos told BuzzFeed News she wanted “gun control now, now, now, now. No more NRA, no more money, gun control now, thank you.”
Telemachus, who went by “Tel,” was “the sweetest guy,” Marybeth Schroeder, a 22-year-old Borderline promoter, told HuffPost. She said Orfanos regularly worked as a security guard at Borderline, but had been there Wednesday “just to enjoy a night out with friends.”
Orfanos attended Thousand Oaks High School, according to his Facebook page, before going to Moorpark College. He went on to join the U.S. Navy.
Kristina Morisette was working the front desk, near the front door at Borderline, at the time of the shooting on Wednesday. Her position at the bar may have made her one of the first people Long encountered during his attack.
She was 20 years old.
“Kristina was our front desk girl, always had the brightest smile on her face when you walked in,” Schroeder, who worked with Morisette, told HuffPost Thursday. “She was known for her positive vibe and flowing personality.”
Morisette’s parents told the Los Angeles Times that their daughter had just returned from a solo trip to meet friends in Austin, Texas, whom she had first met at Borderline.
They described her as an energetic young woman and faithful friend who had recently bought her first car using the money she saved
Before leaving for her shift at Borderline on Wednesday night, Morisette gave her mom a souvenir from Austin, the Times reported.
“We didn’t want her life to end, but we don’t want her memories now to end, either,” Martha Morisette told the paper. “We’ll probably always have a hard time dealing with it.”
Jake Dunham’s father told NBC Los Angeles that he was trying to get ahold of his son all morning Thursday, but Dunham didn’t answer his phone.
“It just keeps ringing out,” Ken Dunham told the news station. “And he always answers his phone.”
Jake Dunham, 21, was later identified by NBC LA as one of the 12 victims killed. His Facebook page was turned into a memorial as of Thursday night.
Dunham, a Newbury Park resident, enjoyed off-roading and hanging out with friends on boats at Lake Havasu in Arizona, according to his social media pages.
In his last post to Instagram, Dunham shared photos of himself competing and having fun with friends at an off-roading event. “Really missing jump champs right now,” he said, referring to the competition known as The Jump Champs in California. “Can’t wait till next time with a v8 so it’s a little more fair.”
A friend who goes by @brookalexis22 on Instagram shared a photo of Dunham in a slideshow of photos that also included one of her and another victim, Blake Dingman.
She referred to the two victims as her “brothers.”
“I’ve lost half of my heart,” she wrote in the caption. “Until we meet again brothers.”
Mark Meza, 20, also died in Wednesday’s mass shooting. According to his Facebook page, he had been photography student at Santa Barbara City College and grew up in Carpinteria, northwest of Thousand Oaks.
He was identified as a victim on Thursday by the Santa Barbara News-Press and KEYT-TV.
In a message to parents, the Carpinteria Unified School District, where Meza had been a student, school officials said he was ”loved by many in our community and will be dearly missed,” BuzzFeed reported.
Meza was just two weeks shy of his 21st birthday, according to KEYT-TV.
Carla Herreria contributed to this report.