By Gina Cherelus, Gabriella Borter and Suzannah Gonzales
(Reuters) – A police veteran, college students and the niece of an actress were among the victims of a deadly shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, a suburb 40 miles (64 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
A gunman identified as Ian David Long fatally shot 12 people before he apparently killed himself, law enforcement officials said.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department had not released an official list of all victims as of Friday but family members and local media outlets have identified 11 of them.
Helus, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office sergeant and 29-year police veteran, was among the first officers to arrive at the bar to confront the gunman. Police officials said he was planning to retire within the next couple of years. Helus, 54, was an avid fisher, according to photos on his Facebook profile. The sheriff’s office said he left behind a wife and son.
Manrique, 33, a Marine Corps veteran like the shooter, worked to help other veterans reacclimate to civilian life as the head of his local chapter of Team Red, White and Blue, a national veterans community organization.
“I have no doubt that he died a hero, shielding others from gunshots,” a relative, Gladys Manrique Koscak, said on Facebook. “He will forever be our hero, son, brother, and the best uncle anybody could ever ask for.”
Orfanos, of Thousand Oaks, had survived the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017 that killed 58 people, ABC News said, citing, a friend. His mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, told ABC News on Friday that she wants gun control legislation now.
“I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts,” she said. “I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers.”
Jason Coffman told reporters on Thursday that his 22-year-old son, Cody, was among the dead, adding that his son was very outgoing, outspoken and the kind of man who would act heroically.
“I cannot believe it’s happened to my family, Jason Coffman said. “I’m speechless and heartbroken.”
Sparks was identified as one of the victims by United Methodist Church Westlake Village, where she had been a part of their congregation. One of her friends, Sarah Penrose, wrote online that Sparks left behind a “legacy of selfless-servitude.”
“She was always so joyful to help others and fill needs,” Penrose said. “Wishing I could have spent more time with her before this happened.”
Pepperdine University student Housley, 18, niece of actress and talk show host Tamera Mowry-Housley, was kind, smart, beautiful and respectful, her parents said in a statement.
“She would have enjoyed the public debate that is certain to happen after this tragedy,” the statement said. “But she would have insisted that it be respectful with an eye toward solving these senseless shootings.
Adler was a security guard at the Borderline Bar and the owner of Rivalry Roasters, a coffee shop that opened in last year in nearby Simi Valley, according to one of his close friends, Karen Cormier, on Facebook.
“We’re devastated,” Cormier said.
A California Lutheran University graduate, Meek had “heroically saved lives” before being gunned down in the incident, according to repots by NBC News, citing university officials. Meek enjoyed Borderline because he loved line dancing and even founded Cal Lutheran’s line dancing club.
Morisette worked as the cashier at the Borderline, ABC13 reported.
“You were just the sweetest girl I’ve ever met,” Devin Cook commented on a Facebook photo of Morisette on Thursday. “RIP beauty. Thank you for always putting a smile on my face.”
Dingman had played baseball at the Hillcrest Christian School in Thousand Oaks, according to the school’s website.
“We were really proud of him,” his aunt, Janet Dingman, told local media. “He was a really fun, energetic and loving nephew.”
Dunham, 21, of Newbury Park, California, was a close friend of Dingman’s, ABC News reported, citing family.
“Rest In Peace Jake. You were such a cool person. I wish you didn’t have to go it’s not fair at all,” Aaron Letulier wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus and Gabriella Borter in New York and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott)