By Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News
A police officer who talked to his wife just before rushing into the bar to save lives and a 22-year-old set to join the Army were among the people killed inside a popular California bar Wednesday night.
At least 12 people were killed when a gunman walked into Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, threw smoke bombs and opened fire.
The gunman, identified as a Marine veteran, was also found dead.
(At least 12 people were killed, including a sheriff’s deputy, and 10 to 12 others were wounded when a gunman entered a crowded bar during a “college country night” event and opened fire in Thousand Oaks, Calif., late Wednesday. Courtesy of TIME and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
The attack on the bar – a college favorite that was hosting a country music event – was the nation’s deadliest shooting since 17 students and teachers were killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school nine months ago.
It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Read on for a look at those who lost their lives in the horrific attack.
Sgt. Ron Helus
(Ventura County Sheriff’s Office remembers fallen colleague Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the police force, who was killed after responding to calls of gunshots at California’s Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
Before Ventura County Sheriff Ron Helus rushed into the bar, he called his wife.
“He said, ‘Hun, I got to go, I love you. I gotta go on a call,’” Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
Helus, a veteran of 29 years, and a patrolman entered the bar after hearing gunshots.
When they went through the front door, Helus was struck multiple times by gunfire.
The patrolman rescued Helus from the line of gunfire and he was taken to a local hospital, where he died early Thursday.
Today we mourn the loss of Sergeant Ron Helus who gave his life serving the community. Please keep his family and the families of the victims in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/EwDsnPRDCs
— Ventura Co. Sheriff (@VENTURASHERIFF) November 8, 2018
He is survived by his wife and son.
“Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff sergeant,” Dean said while holding back tears.
“He was totally committed. He gave his all. And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives. To save other people.”
His colleague, Sgt. Julie Novak, told “FOX & Friends” Helus was “an amazing guy” who loved helping people.
“He probably should have retired a couple years ago, he could have, but he stayed on because he loved the fight,” Novak said.
“He loved helping people, he loved protecting people. He did exactly that tonight.”
(As more details are released about the Thousand Oaks mass shooting, we’re hearing from family members of Cody Coffman. Coffman’s father says he tracked his son’s phone to inside the bar, and it hadn’t moved. Coffman was one of the 12 victims in the shooting. Courtesy of KCRA News and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
Cody Coffman had plans to join the Army, his father, Jason, told reporters Thursday.
The 22-year-old was among those killed inside the bar, Jason confirmed.
An older brother, Cody Coffman was looking forward to the birth of a younger sister later this month, Jason said.
College Night Mass Shooting:
Dad waits with other parents for word on his son outside #Borderline Bar. Jason Coffman tells @Christi_Paul he is worried because his son Cody is the kind of kid who would have “run toward a bully to stand up for others.” https://t.co/ytnNQaxhgn pic.twitter.com/VwfiXbXblR
— HLN (@HLNTV) November 8, 2018
“I’ve been here fighting for him all morning long, and we did just get the news that he was one of [those] killed last night.”
“His name was Cody Coffman, my first-born son,” an emotional Jason said.
Before getting the news of his death, his father said he was fearful his son “went toward the action” because he’s someone who would “run toward a bully to stand up for others.”
He said his last words to his son were not to drink and drive and that he loved him.
“Oh, Cody, I love you, son,” Coffman sobbed.
(Mourners gathered in Napa Thursday night to remember 18-year-old Vintage High School graduate Alaina Housley. Courtesy of KPIX CBS SF Bay Area and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
The niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley was killed in the shooting.
Alaina Housley was an 18-year-old freshman at Pepperdine University, a private Christian college.
“Our hearts are broken,” the couple said in a joint statement.
“We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks.”
“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.”
“She’s an amazing girl,” Adam Housley previously told the Los Angeles Times. “I know you always hear those things.”
(Justin Meek was a bouncer at the Borderline Bar, and saved lives breaking windows so that trapped attendees could escape the mayhem. Courtesy of ABC 10 News and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
California Luthern University graduate Justin Meek also died in the tragedy, the school confirmed in a statement.
The 23-year-old “heroically saved lives” during the shooting before his death, the school said.
He cared for children with special needs, performed as a singer and worked at the Borderline bar.
Since last summer, Meek had worked for Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver, supporting families with children with special needs, mostly developmental disabilities, chief executive Sharon Francis said.
“Parents just adored him. He was able to bond with their kids,” she said. “He was just an all-around guy.”
Danielle Gallo, who also works at the family-run organization, said he was dedicated to the kids he worked with.
“You could tell he really had a heart for what he did,” she said.
Meek played water polo for Cal Lutheran and had planned to go to San Diego this coming weekend for the retirement party of his dad, a Navy SEAL.
(WARNING: This report from Dominic Waghorn contains footage taken during the shooting which may be distressing. Telemachus Orfanos, an Eagle Scout and Navy Veteran, survived the Las Vegas massacre outside Mandalay Bay only to perish in another American mass shooting in a country with too many of them – this one at a Thousand Oaks country bar. Courtesy of Sky News and YouTube. Posted on Nov 9, 2018.)
Telemachus Orfanos, a Navy veteran, was among those killed in the shooting, according to his mother.
Susan Schmidt-Orfanos doesn’t “want prayers” or “thoughts” but simply gun control legislation, she said, according to The Associated Press.
“Here are my words: I want gun control,” Schmidt-Orfanos said after finding out about her 27-year-old son’s death.
She urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to “pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”
(Two more victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks have been identified. Noel Sparks and Kristina Morisette are among the dead. Courtesy of CBS Los Angeles and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
A relative of 21-year-old Noel Sparks, who was a frequent visitor at the Borderline Bar & Grill where the shooting occurred, said her family is “in shock” following word of her death.
Authorities notified Spark’s father that his daughter was among those killed in the violence, Patricia Sparks, her aunt, told The Associated Press.
Sparks was an “all-around good girl,” her aunt said.
“She was the kind of girl that if you had friends, you’d want them to marry her,” she continued.
Sparks helped out with children’s programs at the Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, where she had a part-time job, the Rev. Shawn Thornton told The Associated Press.
“She loved kids,” Thornton said. “We had a lot of parents show up today to say, ‘She made my child feel important and that they mattered.'”
Friends of Sean Adler described the 48-year-old security guard at Borderline as a “passionate person” with “a very, very big personality.”
Adler, a married father of two, was killed while doing something he cared about – protecting people, his friend, Debbie Allen, said.
“He was a very, very big personality and had a very, very gorgeous smile,” she said.
Aside from his job, Adler also loved coffee. So much so that he decided to open Rivalry Roasters, his very own coffee shop, according to friend Phil Englander.
“He was just the most passionate person about coffee you would ever want to meet,” Englander said, adding that his friend had an “energetic personality.”
Englander paid his friend a visit at the coffee shop on Wednesday and then “woke up this morning to tragedy,” he said.
Dan Manrique was a 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran who lived a life of service to other veterans, according to Team RWB, a nonprofit group with the same mission.
“Dan’s life was dedicated to serving others, during his military career and beyond,” said John Pinter, executive director of Team RWB.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the Manrique family and ask that our Eagles around the world join us in keeping all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”
(Learn More about Manrique’s service and passion at Team RWB. The transition from military to civilian life can be challenging. For many, they face physical and emotional health issues, isolation, and loss of camaraderie. Team Red, White & Blue ensures veterans break out of isolation and find belonging with each other and engagement with the community through consistent, ambitious physical challenges, meaningful social connection, and proud commitment to The Eagle. Courtesy of Team RWB and YouTube. Posted on Nov 5, 2018.)
Manrique served with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, as a radio operator and was deployed to the Middle East in 2007 with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to Team RWB.
(Learn More. 12 killed in mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, massive wildfire forces evacuations in Northern California, and captain indicted in deadly Missouri duck boat accident. Courtesy of NBC News and YouTube. Posted on Nov 8, 2018.)
Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz, Stephen Sorace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.