THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The personal stories of the 12 people who were shot and killed when a gunman opened fire in a California bar late Wednesday have started to emerge. A big brother and a recent graduate were among those who died in the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill, which was holding a weekly country music dance night for college students.
Here is a look at the victims:
Jason Coffman identified his 22-year-old son, Cody Coffman, as among the dead. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Jason Coffman said he talked to his son Cody on Wednesday night before he headed out the door. "First thing I said was 'please don't drink and drive.' Last thing I said was, 'Son, I love you.'"
Jason said Cody had just turned 22 and that he was on his way of fulfilling his dream of serving his country. He was talking to recruiters about joining the military.
Cody had two young brothers, aged 8 and 6, and a sister who has not been born yet. "He wanted to be the big brother to these two boys and one sister that's coming," Jason said.
He said he wants to pray for everyone else who is going to go through this same situation, adding, "There's many more to come, but for me this is a heart that I'll never get back."
Another victim was identified Thursday as 23-year-old Justin Meek. California Lutheran University said in a campus alert it learned from the family that Meek, a recent graduate, died in the shooting.
"Meek heroically saved lives in the incident," the university said.
The university said earlier that classes were canceled Thursday.
Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus was killed while responding to the shooting. He was on the phone with his wife when he was dispatched to the Borderline Bar & Grill, Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters.
"'Hey, I gotta go handle a call, I love you, I'll talk to you later,'" Dean said Helus told his wife.
Earlier, on "CBS This Morning," Dean said he and Helus were friends. The sheriff said he had "no doubt" that Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer accompanying him saved lives by engaging with gunman Ian Long.
"I've heard anywhere from 150 to 200 people in there. Not that by any means the loss of 13 lives is good, but it could have been much, much worse," Dean said.
Editor's note: On Dec. 7, investigators revealed that Helus was accidentally killed by a patrolman's bullet; he was also struck 5 times by the gunman. Read the latest story here.
Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos
Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos lost his life in the Borderline Bar and Grill, less than 10 minutes from his home. He'd survived October's mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Orfanos was a U.S. Navy veteran with a thick beard, an easy smile and a gladiator helmet tattoo.
Photos on Orfanos' Facebook page show the Eagle Scout with friends at ballgames or at work. Some photos are embellished with patriotic graphics and another marks the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
His mother, her voice and head shaking with grief and rage,. Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said outside her family's home, "My son was in Las Vegas with one of his friends and he came home. He didn't come home last night. And I don't want prayers, I don't want thoughts, I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me more prayers. I want gun control. No. More. Guns."
Alaina Housley was identified as being among the dead after reports she was missing. "Sister Sister" actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband, former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, said earlier they were looking for her. Alaina is their niece.
"Our hearts are broken," the couple said in a 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," they said. "We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."
Noel Sparks was a youth camp leader and Moorpark College student, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Daniel Manrique's family posted the following statement: "It is with the most shattered and heavy heart that we're writing this post to let everyone know that Daniel Manrique was at Borderline last night. He was shot and killed in an absolutely senseless act of violence that we will never understand. He had spent his entire adult life, post military service, helping veterans readjust to civilian life and had just recently accepted a position with Team RWB as the Pacific Regional Program Manager. We have no doubt that he died a hero, shielding others from gunshots. He will forever be our hero, son, brother, and the best uncle anybody could ever ask for."
Sean Adler was from Simi Valley, CBS Los Angeles reports.
He owned Rivalry Roasters coffee shop. Friends told CBS Los Angeles he was a single father of two children.
"He has a couple kids that he adored and loved ... a great man ... he loved to protect people, he just was a sound guy," his friend Todd said.
Kristina Morisette worked at the front door at Borderline Bar and Grill, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Peter Martinez contributed to this report.
for more features.