Victim in California bar shooting has ties to East Tennessee

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (WVLT) -- Officials have begun identifying the 12 people who died after a gunman opened fire inside of California bar.

Cody Coffman

According to CBS News, 22-year-old Cody was identified by his father, Jason Coffman, as he spoke to reporters on Thursday. Coffman said he talked to his son 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.'"

Coffman said Cody had just had a birthday and that he was on the way to fulfulling his dream of serving his country. He was talking to recruiters about joining the military.

Cody had two young brothers, aged eight and six, and a sister who had not been born yet. "He wanted to be the big brother to these two boys and one sister that's coming," Coffman 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."

Justin Meek

The 23-year-old victim was identified on Thursday. California Lutheran University said in a campus alert it learned from Justin's family that he died in the shooting.

"Meek heroically saved lives in the incident," the university said.

Ron Helus

Ron Helus, a veteran deputy on the Ventura County Sheriff's Office force, was killed while responding to the shooting. He was on the phone with his wife when he was dispatched to the Borderline Bar & Gril, 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.

Dean told reporters that he and Helus were friends and that he had no doubt Helus and the responding highway patrol officer saved lives by engaging with the gunman.

"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.

Alaina Housley

"Sister Sister" actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband, former Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, said earlier they were looking for their niece and took to social media to search for her. However, officials later revealed that Alaina was one of the victims.

"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."

Telemachus Orfanos
Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was a U.S. Navy veteran with a thick beard, an easy smile and a gladiator helmet tattoo. His friends called him “Tel.”

“Here are my words: I want gun control,” his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said, her voice shaking with grief and rage after learning her son was killed. “I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts.”

She said wants Congress to “pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”

Photos on Orfanos’ Facebook page show the former 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.

Noel Sparks

Noel Sparks, a 21-year-old college student, loved going to the Borderline Bar & Grill, so friends and family were not surprised when she posted a photo of herself dancing there Wednesday night.

Her aunt Patricia Sparks of Morristown, Tennessee, said police informed Sparks’ father Thursday that she had died in the shooting.

“We’re in shock,” Patricia Sparks told The Associated Press.

She described her niece as an “all-around good girl. She was the kind of girl that if you had friends, you’d want them to marry her.”

Sparks was a regular at Borderline, where she spent Halloween and celebrated her 21st birthday in August. She often went there with friends and her mom.

When friend Jackie Jones heard about the shooting, she jumped into her car and headed to the bar shortly after midnight. She was determined to find Sparks.

“She would do that for me,” Jones said.

The two met through church two years ago and became fast friends. Sparks was artistic and a leader in church activities. She was majoring in art at nearby Moorpark College.

Sparks worked part time at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. She helped with children’s programs, the Rev. Shawn Thornton said.

“She loved kids. We had a lot of parents show up today to say, ’She made my child feel important and that they mattered,” Thornton said.

Sean Adler

Sean Adler, 48, was a security guard at Borderline who would stay late to ensure people could get home safely, said Debbie Allen, a longtime friend.

The married father of two boys died doing what he was passionate about — protecting people, Allen said.

“He was a very, very big personality and had a very, very gorgeous smile,” she said, adding that he had once considered becoming a police officer. “I don’t think in all the years I’ve known him, and it’s almost 30, I ever heard him say ‘no’ to someone.”

His other passion, she said, was coffee. Adler recently opened his own coffee shop, Rivalry Roasters, in Simi Valley, said Phil Englander, another longtime friend.

“He was just the most passionate person about coffee you would ever want to meet,” Englander said.

Adler joked about being a “coffee dealer” and spoke energetically, using his hands, while people listened.

“He always had that energetic personality,” he said. “He’s just such a warm and friendly and passionate person about everything in his life.”

Englander said he stopped by the coffee shop Wednesday to visit Adler.

“We talked about family, and we reminisced about an old friend of ours we haven’t seen in years,” he said. “I woke up this morning to tragedy.”

A vigil is being held for Adler Thursday night at the coffee shop. Another one will be held Friday to include family traveling from out of town.