Margaret Carrero

Funeral Services to be Held for Cody Coffman, One of the Victims in Thousand Oaks Shooting

November 15, 2018 - 11:15 am
Categories: 

(AP/CBS News/KNX 1070) - Funeral services were held Wednesday for Cody Coffman, one of the victims of the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.

There was a viewing for Coffman open to the public at the Perez Family Funeral Home. 

The emotions were still raw as family and friends of the 12 killed grieved together with local and state officials at Pepper Tree Playfield.

Jason Coffman, whose son Cody died in the shooting, stood with 12 red roses and gave them to others grieving the loss of a loved one.

Earlier as the names of the 12 killed were read aloud, people wept loudly. Many wore hooded sweatshirts with the words Thousand Oaks Strong Rally Around Borderline.

A huge contingent of law enforcement officers, from around the state and possibly from around the country, were expected to be in Westlake Village Thursday for the funeral of a Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was gunned down trying to stop the mass murder at the Borderline Bar and Grill.

Sergeant Ron Helus was also killed at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks during last week’s mass shooting. 

Helus was buried with full law-enforcement honors, including an aerial flyover of sheriff’s helicopters.

The service was followed by a brief procession to a nearby cemetery where he'll be laid to rest.

More than 100 people were inside the Thousand Oaks bar during the shooting Wednesday night, including many college students who were there to celebrate "College Country Night."

According to authorities, the alleged shooter was 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine combat veteran who had been stationed in Afghanistan. Police said Long used a .45-caliber Glock handgun with an illegal, extra-capacity magazine, first shooting a security guard outside the bar. Witnesses said he deployed smoke bombs before going in and aiming at employees and customers

Police said they found the alleged shooter dead inside, possibly from a self-inflicted wound. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters early Thursday, "It's a horrific scene in there. There's blood everywhere." 

KNX spoke with Park Dietz, one of America's most prominent and accomplished forensic psychiatrists, about the behaviors of those people who commit mass shootings.  

cbs

Here is a list of the victims of this horrible tragedy: 

Justin Meek, 23 

Newly graduated from California Lutheran University, Justin Meek cared for children with special needs, performed as a singer and worked at the Borderline bar.

It was there he "heroically saved lives" before being killed, Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball said in a statement. He didn't provide details.

The campus chapel overflowed Thursday with people attending a service of mourning. Meek, 23, majored in criminal justice and graduated in May, school spokeswoman Karin Grennan said.

Since last summer, Meek had worked for Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver, supporting families with children with special needs, mostly developmental disabilities, chief executive Sharon Francis said.

"Parents just adored him. He was able to bond with their kids," she said. "He was just an all-around guy."

Danielle Gallo, who also works at the family-run organization, said he was dedicated to the kids he worked with.

"You could tell he really had a heart for what he did," she said, sobbing.

Meek also toured professionally as an a cappella singer, said family friend Patrick Ellis, who called Meek a talented musician, singer and athlete and a "fantastic human being."

"He was a hero every day of his life," Ellis said. "It was just always positive energy. ... Anything he could do for you, he was just there."

Meek played water polo for Cal Lutheran and had planned to go to San Diego this coming weekend for the retirement party of his dad, a Navy SEAL. Meek also worked at the bar with his sister and fellow Cal Lutheran student, Victoria Rose Meek, who survived, Ellis said.

"Both very polite, iconic American kids, highly educated, wholesome," Ellis said of the siblings.

As a student, Meek lent his full, velvety voice to the Cal Lutheran choir, where "every time he sang, you could just feel it in your soul," recalled choir member Rachel Counihan, 20.

"He cared so much about his craft and just cared so much about other people," she said. "He was just full of light and happiness."

Scott Roberts, 20, a junior at the school and friend of Victoria Rose Meek's, had warm memories of her brother.

"He was just the nicest dude," Roberts said. "I'm just praying he's in a better place."

Sean Adler, 48 

Adler 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.

Cody Coffman, 22

Cody Coffman, who had just turned 22, was talking with Army recruiters and preparing to fulfill his dream of serving his country, said his father, Jason Coffman, who wept as he told a group of reporters that his first-born son was among the victims.

Cody adored his siblings — three brothers between ages 6 and 9 — and he couldn't wait for the birth of a sister, due on Nov. 29, said Jason Coffman of Camarillo.

"Cody was the big brother that my kids need," he said. "He was so excited to have his first sister and now she'll never know ..."

He trailed off, sobbing, then said, "Oh, Cody, I love you, son."

He said his son was passionate about baseball, serving as an umpire for a little league, and they went fishing together.

"That poor boy would come with me whether he liked it or not," he said. "That's the kind of stuff I am truly going to miss."

Jason Coffman said he last spoke to his son Wednesday night before Cody headed to the bar where the gunman opened fire.

"The first thing I said was, 'Please don't drink and drive,'" he said. "The last thing I said was, 'Son, I love you.'"

Sgt. Ron Helus, 54

Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus was talking to his wife when calls started coming in about a shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

"Hey, I got to go handle a call. I love you. I'll talk to you later," he told her, according to Sheriff Geoff Dean.

It was the last time she would talk to her husband.

Helus rushed toward the shooting and immediately exchanged fire with the shooter inside the bar, Dean said. Helus was hit multiple times and died at a hospital.

Sgt. Eric Buschow, who said Helus was a friend, described him as a "cop's cop."

"The fact that he was the first in the door doesn't surprise me at all," he said. "He's just one of those guys that wouldn't hesitate in a situation."

Helus took up fly fishing a few years ago and loved pursuing the hobby in the Sierra Nevada mountains with his grown son, Buschow said.

"He was just a great guy, a gentle soul," Buschow said. "Patient. Calm no matter what. When you call 911, he's one of the guys you want showing up."

Helus was on the SWAT team for much of his career and worked in narcotics and investigations, he said.

"If you were a victim of a crime, you want him investigating the case," Buschow said. "He would go to the ends of the Earth to find a suspect."

Thousands of people lined streets and many others pulled over to honor the fallen officer during a somber 25-mile (40-kilometer) procession that took Helus' body from a hospital to a coroner's office.

Dean choked back tears talking about Helus and called him a hero.

"He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price," he said.

Noel Sparks

Sparks 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.

Kristina Morisette

Morisette worked the front door at Borderline Bar & Grill.

Jake Dunham, 21

Daniel Manrique, 33

Manrique was a Marine Corps. veteran and focused on helping other veterans adjust to civilian life, according to a family member.

Blake Dingman, 21 

Mark Meza

Telemachus Orfanos, 27

Orfanos lived through the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year only to die inside Borderline, less than 10 minutes from his home, according to his mother.

"Here are my words: I want gun control," Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said, her voice shaking with grief and rage. "I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts."

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

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 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.

Orfanos' mother spoke to the press after being notified of her son's death. 

Alaina Housley, 18 

Housley was a promising student at Pepperdine University with plans to study law, her family said.

Adam Housley, a former Fox News correspondent, and Tamera Mowry-Housley, an actress known for the 1990s TV series "Sister Sister," said their niece was killed at the bar where she had gone line dancing with friends.

"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 said in a statement.

Alaina was bright, popular and well-loved, a student who had a 4.5 grade-point average since junior high school and earned college scholarships, said her grandfather, Art Housley.

She played soccer and tennis all through high school, studied piano and violin, and sang, he said.

"She's a really good kid," he said, fighting tears, before her relatives learned their fears of her death were true. "Everybody loves her."

Todd Stratton, who was at the bar with two friends who died, said he was in "disbelief" because he's known Long for years.

"My friend killed my other friends, and I was just there to see it all happen," Stratton said. "I didn't think that he was the type of person that would do this, and I don't understand it."

On Thursday police searched the home Long shared with his mother. There were rumors Long suffered from PTSD. Long's high school track coach said he physically assaulted her his senior year, but she never filed charges.

"There are hundreds of thousands of people with PTSD. They don't go around shooting people. This kid was mentally disturbed in high school," Dominique Colell said.

At the vigil, hundreds joined in song inside the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza while an overflow crowd gathered outside to remember those who were lost.

Long had a run-in with law enforcement earlier this year. Deputies were called to his home in April after neighbors reported yelling and crashing sounds. Long was cleared by a mental health specialist who felt long did not need to be taken in for evaluation.

Meanwhile, blood donations were needed for the critically injured patients from the shooting as officials from across the state and country gave statements on the horrendous situation. At least two blood drives are being held and there is a particular need for type O negative.  

This story is developing.

Listen to KNX1070 live on the Radio.com app.

If you don’t have the Radio.com app, download it here.