Vet­eran cop, stu­dents, bar staff among dead

The Province - - NEWS - — Brad Hunter

One was a beloved vet­eran cop slated to re­tire next year.

An­other was the niece of a Hol­ly­wood celebrity.

Oth­ers were uni­ver­sity stu­dents, re­cent grad­u­ates and blue col­lar work­ers.

To­day, they are all dead, vic­tims of Ian Long, 28, a for­mer U.S. Marine who un­leashed blood­shed at a Thou­sand Oaks, Calif. honky tonk. Twelve dead in all.

Long ap­par­ently killed him­self as cops closed in.

Ven­tura County Sher­iff’s sergeant Ron Helus — who was first on the scene — was killed af­ter be­ing shot mul­ti­ple times in a gun­fight with Long.

The 29-year po­lice vet­eran’s brav­ery gave scores of young peo­ple enough time to get out of the bar and to safety. He was mar­ried with chil­dren.

“He went in there to save lives. He took de­ci­sive ac­tion, and it’s just a tragic loss for us,” pal Sgt. Eric Buschow told CNN.

Sis­ter, Sis­ter star Tam­era Mowry-Hous­ley and her hus­band had feared the worst. Her 18-year-old niece Alaina Hous­ley, a uni­ver­sity stu­dent, was among the dead.

“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,” Mowry-Hous­ley said in a state­ment.

Cody Coff­man, 22, was plan­ning to go into the U.S. Army. Now, his fam­ily is fac­ing ag­o­niz­ing grief.

“The first thing I said was ‘Please don’t drink and drive.’ The last thing I said was ‘Son, I love you’,” his fa­ther Ja­son said.

Justin Meek, 23, re­cently grad­u­ated from Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity and worked at the Border­line Bar. Wit­nesses said he saved a num­ber of lives dur­ing the may­hem by telling pa­trons and staff to run for it.

Jake Dun­ham, 21, had gone to the Border­line to shoot some pool and is now among those still miss­ing. His phone won’t pick up. “I keep call­ing it but there’s no an­swer,” his fa­ther Ken said.

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