California

Thousand Oaks victims include college student, law enforcement officer

THOUSANDS OAKS (CNN) - At least 12 lives were cut short on Wednesday when a gunman stormed a Southern California bar and opened fire.

Here's what we know about the people who died in the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, was hoping to retire in the next year or so. He loved spending time with his son fishing in the Sierras, friend and colleague Sgt. Eric Buschow said. He is survived by his son and wife.

Policing was in Helus' blood, Buschow said. Before he responded to the shooting, Wednesday night was like any other busy night for him, backing up fellow deputies on every call that he could, VCSD Senior Deputy Julie Novak told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS.

Helus was among the first officers through the door at Borderline. He was shot several times as he tried to stop the rampaging gunman, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.

Cody Coffman had just turned 22, and was in the process of talking to Army recruiters, his father said. He was the head umpire for a local baseball league, a role that brought him into contact with many people, his father said.

The aunt and uncle of Alaina Housley confirmed that the Pepperdine student died in the shooting.

"The Real" co-host Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband Adam Housley issued the following 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."

The couple earlier used Twitter and Instagram to seek information about and prayers for their niece.

Pepperdine University shared condolences with the Housley family.

"Our hearts are broken with the news of this profound loss," the school said in a statement. "We offer our deepest condolences to the Housley family and ask that our community join us in keeping Alaina's family, friends, and loved ones in their prayers during this incredibly difficult time."

United Methodist Church Westlake Village identified another victim, Noel Sparks, as a member of its congregation. The church released a statement after speaking to Sparks' father.

"It is with heavy hearts that we notify you that Noel Sparks was among the victims of last night's shooting. We grieve with Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson."

California Lutheran University identified one of the victims as Justin Meek, a 23-year-old recent graduate who "heroically saved lives in the incident," university president Chris Kimball said.

Meek was a criminal justice and criminology major who worked in the Veterans Resource Office for two years for work-study. He planned events and helped veteran-students with their VA certifications, said Jenn Zimmerman, Cal Lutheran's veterans coordinator.

He had just returned to Cal Lutheran to support the Country Line Dance Club with Borderline, Zimmerman said in a statement. "He loved running college night and always seemed to draw a crowd."

He was also part of the Kingsmen Quartet and sang the National Anthem at graduation, Zimmerman said. He was set to sing with the Disney Carolers for the holiday season.

"He was planning to join the US Coast Guard, a compromise between his Air Force veteran mother and his Navy SEAL father. He enjoyed cooking for others and often brought his leftovers for us to share as we envied his cooking skills."

He was going to cook for everyone at the school's Veterans Day Celebration on Monday, Zimmerman said. "Since he can no longer be with us, we will hold a memorial in his honor. Justin was a real go-getter and had his whole life ahead of him. He will be deeply missed in our community."

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