THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Twelve people died late Wednesday after a gunman opened fire on a crowd gathered for a weekly country music dance night popular with college students at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.
Deputies did not immediately release the names of the victims as they worked to notify their families.
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Here's what we know about the victims:
Ron Helus, 54
Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, died Wednesday night while responding to reports of the shooting, according to deputies.
"Ron was a great guy. He was close to everybody," Sheriff Geoff Dean said. "He was a hard worker and hearts are broken all over."
Dean said Helus was on the phone with his wife Wednesday night, something he often did during his shifts, when a call about the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill came in, Dean said.
"He said to her, 'Hey, I've got to go handle a call, I love you, I'll talk to you later,'" Dean said. "He went in there to save people and made the ultimate sacrifice."
Helus is survived by his wife and a grown son.
"Ron's selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten," deputies said Thursday morning in a statement. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Cody Coffman, 22
Jason Coffman told reporters on Thursday that deputies confirmed his son, Cody Coffman, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday night's shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.
Jason Coffman said his son had recently moved in with him and his wife.
"I talked to him last night before he headed out the door," he said. "First thing I said was, 'Please, don't drink and drive.' Last thing I said was, 'Son, I love you.'"
Jason Coffman said deputies told him that his son was found dead at the scene of Wednesday's mass shooting.
"His life was cut short at too young of an age, but we have faith in our God," said Jason Coffman's father-in-law, Mike Johnston. "Life is sacred and we should cherish it. I can't comprehend – we want to look for reasons. There is no reason why evil things happen."
Cody Coffman is survived by three younger brothers and a soon-to-be-born sister.
Alaina Housley, 18
In a statement released to BuzzFeed News, actress Tamara Mowry-Housley and her husband, Adam Housley, confirmed that their niece, Alaina, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday's shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.
"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. "We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."
Alaina Housley was a freshman at Pepperdine University. Two of her suitemates said they jumped through a broken window to escape from the shooting, Adam Housley told the San Diego Union-Tribune. He said they told him they lost sight of Alaina Housley in the chaotic aftermath of the attack.
"She's an amazing girl," Adam Housley told the Union-Tribune. "I know you always hear those things."
Justin Meek, 23
Officials with California Lutheran University confirmed Thursday that one of the college's recent graduates was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill.
"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," officials said on the university's website. "Meek heroically saved lives in the incident."
Daniel Manrique, a former Marine sergeant, volunteered to help the homeless and to help provide daycare services at a church while also working with Team Red, White and Blue, a non-profit group that helps veterans transition back to the community, The Orange County Register reported.
"The best way I can describe him is as a 'saint.' He truly believed in service," Tim O'Brien, Manrique's friend and business partner, told the Register. "Dan was the guy you could rely on if you ran out of gas in the middle of the night. He would help you out if something bad happened. He was there, dedicated, loyal."
According to Team Red, White and Blue, Manrique served as a radio operator with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Manrique was at Borderline Bar & Grill meeting friends Wednesday night, according to KNBC.
Noel Sparks, 21
United Methodist Church Westlake Village confirmed in a Facebook post that Noel Sparks was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday night's shooting.
Rev. Walter Dilg, senior pastor at United Methodist Church, told The Press-Enterprise that Sparks grew up in the church, participating in Sunday groups and the choir. She went to a different church once she got into Moorpark College, according to The Press-Enterprise.
"She was always so joyful to help others and fill needs," the newspaper reported Sparks's friend, Sarah Penrose, wrote in a Facebook post. "Wishing I could have spent more time with her before this happened."
Jake Dunham, 21
Dunham's father told KTLA that he tried to get a hold of him all Thursday morning, but he never answered the phone.
"I keep calling it but there's no answer," Dunham's told KNBC. "It just keeps ringing out. And he always answers his phone."
The Thousand Oaks Acorn later confirmed Dunham was among the people killed Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill.
The brother of Blake Dingman, another victim of Wednesday's shooting, said on Instagram that Dingman and Dunham were good friends.
Sean Adler, 48
Sean Adler worked as a bouncer at Borderline Bar & Grill and had been a strength coach at Royal High School, according to a post on the Royal Wrestling Facebook page.
"He was positive, motivational, and truly wanted the best for the people around him," the post said. "Thank you Sean for your help and most of all your friendship."
Earlier this year, Adler opened a coffee shop called Rivalry Roasters in a strip mall in Simi Valley, the Ventura County Star reported.
Blake Dingman, 21
The Thousand Oaks Acorn reported Blake Dingman was among the victims in Wednesday's deadly shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.
"Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling," he wrote in a post that included a photo of himself and his brother. "Last night my life was changed forever. I received news of gunfire at Borderline Bar & Grille from a friend. Which was where my brother was hanging out for the night. Me, my dad, and mom raced to the scene. Or as close as we could get. We tried for hours and hours to get in touch with Blake and got no response. At 12:00 this morning I was informed that my amazing brother was taken down by the shooter as well as his good friend Jake Dunham. Blake, I love you so much and I miss you more than you can imagine."
Kristina Morisette, 20
The Thousand Oaks Acorn confirmed Kristina Morisette was among those killed in Wednesday night's shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. Social media reports indicated she was working at the bar when the shooting started.
Morisette was from Simi Valley and loved country music, KNBC reported.
"Kristina was always the nicest girl," Brandon Bohning, 19, who grew up with Morisette, told the San Bernadino County Sun. "She never had a frown on her face – it was rare. She always had a positive attitude about everything. She never picked on anyone growing up."
Telemachus Orfanos, 27
The Thousand Oaks High School track and field team confirmed on Twitter that Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos, the son of the team's high jump coach Marc Orfanos, died in Wednesday's shooting.
"There are no words for this tragedy," the team said in a Twitter post. "Our hearts are breaking for Marc and his family."
Telemachus Orfanos served for 2 1/2 years in the U.S. Navy and sometimes worked as a bouncer at Borderline Bar & Grill, The Ventura County Star reported. However, his father told the newspaper that he wasn't working on the night of the shooting.
Marky Meza Jr., 20
Marky Meza Jr., a 20-year-old busboy and food runner was identified by family members as one of the victims, KEYT reported. He was raised in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and worked at the restaurant as a busboy and food runner, the station said.
Meza graduated from Carpinteria High School, the television station reported.
According to a statement released by the family, Meza would have turned 21 on Nov. 19.
"Marky was a loving and wonderful young man who was full of life and ambition," the statement said. "His family is devastated by his loss. … His family asks for peace and respect at this time to allow them to grieve privately."
Cox Media Group