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.
Pictured: Sergeant Ron Helus Handout
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.
Jason Coffman holds up an image of his son, Cody Coffman. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
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."
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.
Another victim was Sean Adler, according to the Simi Valley High School wrestling team, where Adler had once coached.
"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."
A Gofundme page has been set up for the victims and their families.