The Borderline Bar & Grill was hosting a country western night Wednesday when 28-year-old David Ian Long threw smoke grenades into the mass of people before opening fire on the crowd.
He reportedly used a .45 caliber handgun with an extended magazine, killing 12 people before turning the gun on himself. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States in the last 12 days, occuring less than two weeks after a gunman killed 11 people in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
All 12 victims had been identified as of Friday morning. Here are their stories.
Alaina Housley Image via Adam Housley
Alaina Housley, 18, had just started her freshman year at Pepperdine University and went to Borderline Wednesday night to dance with her friends. She reportedly graduated from Vintage High School in June. In high school she played varsity soccer and served on the student government for all four years.
Vintage High principle Sarah O’Connor told USA Today that Housley was “sweet and kind, a good to the core person with great values.”
“One of my favorite moments was when Alaina, who played violin in our orchestra, had all of the violinists play happy birthday for her mom one year. Her mom is an employee here,” O’Connor told the paper. “She did something special for her mom, and she used her musical talent.
Housley’s aunt, actress and television host Tamera Mowry, remembered Housley on social media after she was identified.
Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks. I’m still in disbelief. It’s not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us. I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5. You stole my heart. I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano. Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game. I love you. I love you. I love you. You are gonna make one gorgeous angel. My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy.
“Alaina. My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks. I’m still in disbelief. It’s not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us. I was blessed to know you ever since you were 5,” Mowry wrote on Instagram. “You stole my heart. I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano. Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game. I love you. I love you. I love you. You are gonna make one gorgeous angel. My heart and prayers are with every victim of this tragedy.”
Mowry’s husband, journalist Adam Housley, shared a statement from Alaina Housley’s parents on Twitter Thursday night.
My brother Arik and his wife Hannah and my nephew Alex are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. They and Alaina are some of the most generous people in the world…and love their Napa community. This is from them…. pic.twitter.com/y2kyFKfnoO
— Adam Housley (@adamhousley) November 9, 2018
“Words can’t describe our grief over losing our daughter,” her parents wrote. “She was everything we could hope for in a child: king, smart, beautiful and respectful.”
Her parents said they wanted to honor their daughter by “focusing on how she lived her life.”
“She would have enjoyed the public debate that is certain to happen after this tragedy,” they said. “But she would have insisted that it be respectful with an eye toward solving these senseless shootings.”
Daniel Manrique Image via Facebook
Daniel Manrique, 33, was a Marine Veteran who started the Ventura County chapter of Team Red, White and Blue in 2014, a group that helps veterans make the transition from military to civilian life, his friend Sara Bergeron told USA Today.
“I’ve never met anyone my whole life that was so selfless and committed to helping veterans succeed and just thrive,” Bergeron told the paper. “He never quit on people. He never gave up, even if someone tried to push him away. He always still reached out.”
Another friend, Jacklyn Pieper, told Task & Purpose that Manrique had dedicated his life to giving back.
“He talked a lot about the isolation that veterans feel when they return home without continuity or consistency, and he just wanted to extend his armed around whoever else felt that,” Pieper said. “His life was about going above and beyond. His whole life was based around helping others.”
When Bergeron learned the gunman reportedly suffered from PTSD, she told USA Today, her first thought was that she wished he could’ve met Manrique.
“The shooter killed someone who could have been his lifeline, who could have helped him with his PTSD, who could have understood more than anyone what he was going through,” she said.
Justin Meek Image via Asante Sefa-Boakye
Justin Meek, 23, died Wednesday trying to protect others, one of his family members told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Meek was an Eagle Scout, president of the Octagon Club, and captain of the JV water polo team. At California Lutheran University, he studied criminal justice and worked as a lifeguard and a promoter for the Borderline Bar & Grill. He was working with his sister Wednesday.
One longtime friend, Asante Sefa-Boakye, told NPR that Meek was a “teddy bear” and that he loved country music.
“Ask anyone… who knows this kid and they’ll say nothing short of how great a guy he is,” Sefa-Boakye said. “There’s a lot of heartbreak here over the loss of such a warm spirit. There’s frustration too because he fell victim to the same tragedy that this country has been going through over and over again with no apparent attempt to fix the problem.”
Meek reportedly had a beautiful voice and dreamt of singing at Club 33 at Disneyland with his girlfriend.
“It was his dream to sing at Club 33 at Disneyland, and that’s never going to happen,” one man who had worked with Meek, Tony Duran, told USA Today. “It was her dream to sing with him at Club 33, and that’s never going to happen – all because of the stupid choice that killer made that robbed so many people of hearing Justin Meek’s beautiful voice. It’s senseless.”
Telemacus Orfanos Image Via Facebook
Last October, Telemacus Orfanos survived the Las Vegas shooting that killed more than 50 people. On Wednesday, while at the bar with a group of friends, a number of whom had also lived through the shooting last year, Orfanos was killed. He was 27.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends, and he came home. He didn’t come home last night,” his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, told a local TV reporter. “I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”
“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” – mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 8, 2018
Orfanos graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in 2009 and served in the Navy.
Cody Coffman Image via Facebook
Cody Coffman, 22, was planning to join the Army and had a little sister on the way. His father, Jason Coffman, confirmed through tears Thursday that his song was among the the dead.
“Last thing I said was, ‘Son, I love you,’” Jason told reporters. “He wanted to be a big brother to the sister that’s coming.”
For nearly two decades, Jason said he coached Cody in sports.
“He was my fishing buddy all the time, whether he liked it or not that poor boy came with me, fishing on a boat,” the father said. “This is not going to be easy for a very long time. My life has changed forever.”
Coffman worked for a moving company in Camarillo called Attention to Detail. On Thursday, the company posted a photo of him on Facebook and wrote, “Cody Coffman was such an encouraging soul, always smiling and so happy all the time. Our hearts are aching today as we mourn him. Cody had such a bright future ahead of him.”
The post continued, saying, “He was just weeks away from joining the Army. We know Cody’s heart and he sacrificed his own life, to protect the ones around him. Cody Coffman, you are a hero.”
Noel Sparks Image via Sarah Penrose
Noel Sparks, 21, was a regular at Borderline, according to her family members who spoke to USA Today. It was where she celebrated Halloween and her 21st birthday in August. She posted a picture from the bar Wednesday night.
The United Methodist Church Westlake Village identified her as a member of their congregation and confirmed her death.
“As we say at Calvary often, she lived and loved like Jesus,” her friend Sarah Penrose told CNN. “She was genuinely caring, and loved serving people. She definitely left a legacy of selfless servitude.”
Sparks was a talented dancer and artist. She was majoring in art at Moorpark College and worked with children at her church, Rev. Shawn Thornton told the Associated Press.
“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.
Ron Helus Image via Facebook
Ron Helus, 54, was one of the first officers to enter the bar Wednesday night. He was a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and reportedly hoped to retire within a year or so.
He was shot several times Wednesday when he confronted the gunman.
During his time on the force, he worked on drug investigation assignments and served on a SWAT team. He was also a firearms instructor at basic training and had his own business teaching gun safety to people who wanted concealed weapons permits, according to CNN.
Helus was reportedly on the phone with his wife when the first reports of the shooting came in. He told her he loved her and hung up.
“There’s no doubt that they saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters Thursday. “I’ve heard [there were] 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.”
His colleague Sgt. Eric Buschow told NPR that Helus was “patient, compassionate, calm.”
He leaves behind his wife and a son.
Sean Adler Image via the family
Sean Adler, 48, was killed working as a bouncer at Borderline Wednesday.
He was married and had two sons, aged 17 and 12. He coached soccer and tae kwon do, according to The Los Angeles Times. He had trained to become a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, but a recent heart attack changed his course, and he recently opened a coffee shop in town, which he called Rivalry Roasters.
He was working at the bar to pay the bills while business at his coffee shop got going.
One of his childhood friends Debbie Nieser told the Times he was a “very caring guy that was a lot of fun.”
“He was someone that went after his dreams, someone who was always trying to find his dreams, someone who collected many different types of people,” she said.
Kristina Morisette Image via Facebook
Kristina Morisette, 20, worked at the bar. Before she left for her shift Wednesday night, she gave her mother a coin purse she’d gotten her on a recent trip to Austin, Texas, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The next afternoon, after hours of waiting for news, her family found out their daughter, the youngest of three children, had been killed in the shooting.
“We could either retreat and draw our curtains or we could talk about the beauty of the things that were,” Michael Morisette, her father, told the Sun.
His daughter was talkative and friendly. She was a great friend, they said, and she’d just recently bought her first car, a Jeep Renegade, with money she’d earned from working at Borderline.
“We didn’t want her life to end,” Martha Morisette told the paper. “But we don’t want her memories now to end, either.”
Blake Dingman Image via Instagram
Blake Dingman, 21, lived in Newbury Park. He played high school basketball at Hillcrest Christian School, The Press-Enterprise reported Thursday. His great aunt Janey Dingman confirmed his death to the local outlet.
“We were really proud of him,” she said. “He was a really, fun, energetic and loving nephew.”
Dingman’s younger brother Aidan Dingman posted a picture of the pair on Instagram Thursday night.
Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling. Last night my life was changed forever. I received news of gunfire at Borderline Bar & Grille from a friend. Which was where my brother was hanging out for the night. Me, my dad, and mom raced to the scene. Or as close as we could get. We tried for hours and hours to get in touch with Blake and got no response. At 12:00 this morning I was informed that my amazing brother was taken down by the shooter as well as his good friend Jake Dunham. Blake, I love you so much and I miss you more than you can imagine. #805strong
“Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling. Last night my life was changed forever,” Aidan wrote. “I received news of gunfire at Borderline Bar & Grille from a friend. Which was where my brother was hanging out for the night. Me, my dad, and mom raced to the scene. Or as close as we could get. We tried for hours and hours to get in touch with Blake and got no response. At 12:00 this morning I was informed that my amazing brother was taken down by the shooter as well as his good friend Jake Dunham. Blake, I love you so much and I miss you more than you can imagine.”
Jake Dunham Image via Facebook
Jake Dunham, 21, was a close friend of Blake Dingman’s. According to KTLA, Dunham’s father had been trying to get in touch with his son all Thursday morning, but the phone just kept ringing.
This post will be updated should more information about the victims become available.