Thousand Oaks victims include college student and law enforcement officer

Posted at 2:48 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-08 16:50:53-05

(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.

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.

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.

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.

Journalist Adam Housley and actress Tamera Mowry-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.”