Ventura County sheriff Geoff Dean said Thursday that Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, died while confronting the gunman in Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, located about 40 miles north of Los Angeles.
While authorities have not named all 12 victims in the shooting, a father of one person who died identified his 22-year-old son as among those who were killed. Jason Coffman told reporters Thursday that his oldest son, Cody Coffman, was killed.
Here is what we know so far about the victims of the shooting:
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54
Ron Helus, who had worked in law enforcement for 29 years, had planned to retire in the coming year, Dean said, noting that the two were friends who often worked out together. Helus was shot multiple times upon entering the bar and later died at a hospital.
Helus was on the phone with his wife when he got the call about the shooting incident. He told her, “I’ve got to go handle a call. I love you. I’ll talk to you later,” Dean said.
“He was totally committed,” Dean said. “He gave his all. Tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero. He went in to save lives, to save other people.”
Helus is survived by a wife and son.
Cody Coffman, 22
The last words Jason Coffman told his son, Cody Coffman, were “I love you,” before he went to Borderline Bar and Grill. He’d just warned him not to drink and drive.
Coffman sobbed while recalling his relationship with his son to reporters Thursday. He said Cody will be remembered for his love for his younger siblings, including two brothers and a soon-to-be born sister, and that he loved working with kids.
“This is going to absolutely crush those two boys,” Coffman said in tears. “I just want him to know that he’s going to be missed. I am speechless and heartbroken.”
Coffman said he bonded with Cody over outdoor activities — he coached his son in baseball starting from age 3 and the two often went fishing together.
“He was my fishing buddy. I fish all the time and that poor boy would come with whether he liked it or not. That’s the stuff I’m truly going to miss,” he said.
Alaina Housley, 18
Alaina Housley, a student at Pepperdine University, was reported missing following the shooting by her suitemate. She was the niece of actor and The Real host Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband Adam Housley.
“Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at the Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks,” Mowry-Housley said in a statement. “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
The family of Justin Meek said the 23-year-old died in the shooting, California Lutheran University said Thursday. Meek, who had recently graduated from the university, helped to save lives during the shooting, according to the university.
“Cal Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring,” said an alert from the university which invited the campus community to join vigils on Thursday.