The stories of the 12 people who lost their lives at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Oaklands, California, on Wednesday night have begun to emerge.
One was a veteran police officer who did not hesitate to run towards danger. Another was an art student who worked with children at her church. Others were a navy veteran, a cappella singer who worked as a caregiver, and a security guard with a “big personality” who was known for making sure everyone got home safely.
The stories of the 12 people who lost their lives at the Border line Bar& Grill in Oaklands, California, on Wednesday night have begun to emerge.
Ron Helus Ventura
County sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus was talking to his wife when calls started coming in about a shooting.
“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.
Sgt Helus rushed toward the shooting and immediately exchanged fire with the shooter inside the bar, said Mr Dean. Sgt Helus was hit multiple times and died at a hospital.
Sgt Eric Buschow 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.”
The 27-year-old US Navy veteran survived the Las Vegas mass shooting 13 months ago to lose his life in this attack.
“Here are my words: I want gun control,” his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, said in an interview with KABC-TV, her voice shaking with grief and rage. “I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts.”
She said she wants Congress to “pass gun control so no-one else has a child that doesn’t come home”.
Cody Coffman, who had just turned 22, was talking with army recruiters and preparing to fulfil his dream of serving his country, said his father, Jason Coffman, who wept as he told a group of rehas porters that his first-born son was among the victims.
Cody adored his siblings, three brothers between the ages of six and nine, and he could not wait for the birth of a sister, due on November 29, said Jason Coffman.
“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.”
Newly graduated from California Lutheran University, Justin Meek cared for children with special needs, performed asa cap ella singer, and worked at the Borderline bar.
It was there he “heroically saved lives” before being killed, said Cal Lutheran president Chris Kimball in a statement.
Mr Meek also worked for Channel Island Social Services as a respite caregiver.
Danielle Gallo, who also works at the family-run organisation, said he was dedicated to the children with whom he worked.
“You could tell he really had a heart for what he did,” she said, sobbing.
Alaina Housley was just 18, 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.
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 told The Associated Press the family was in shock.
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”.
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, said Ms Allen.
“He was a very, very big personality and had a very, very gorgeous smile,” she said. “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.”
Daniel, 33, was a former marine sergeant who worked for a charity helping veterans after leaving the military. He had recently been promoted.
His sister, Gladys Manrique Koscak, confirmed his death via Facebook on Thursday.
“It is with the most shattered and heavy heart that I’m writing this post to let everyone know that Daniel Manrique was at Borderline last night,” she said.
“He was shot and killed in an absolutely senseless act of violence that we will never understand.
“He had spent his entire adult life, post-military service, helping veterans readjust to civilian life.
“He will forever be our hero, son, brother, and the best uncle anybody could ever ask for.”
Blake, 21, was in the bar with his friend Jake Dunham, who also died.
Posting on Instagram, Mr Dingman’s younger brother Aidan paid tribute to his sibling.
Along with his parents, he had raced to the scene when news of the shooting emerged.
“Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling,” he wrote. “I love you so much and I miss you more than you can imagine.”
Jake, 21, lived in Newbury Park, California. His father, Ken, told NBC Los Angeles he had gone to the bar to play pool with his friend.
Both Mr Dingman and Mr Dunham were keen off-road drivers. No Sways Offroad organised a memorial off-road meet for Monday in honour of their “fallen brothers Blake and Jake”.
“I know we’re all heartbroken so let’s send them off in a way they’d want,” organisers wrote on Instagram.
Kristina, 20, from Simi Valley, worked on the front desk at Borderline Bar & Grill.
Online, friends paid tribute to a “sweet soul” who “cared for everyone”.
Marky Meza Jr,
Marky, 20, was identified by family members, KEYT reported. He was raised in Santa Barbara and Carpinteira and worked at the restaurant as a busboy and food runner.
He was due to turn 21 next week and was described as a wonderful young man who was “full of life and ambition”.