Vic­tims in­clude of­fi­cer, a big brother, and a stu­dent


THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — One was a vet­eran po­lice of­fi­cer who didn’t hes­i­tate to run to­ward dan­ger. An­other was a young man who ea­gerly awaited the birth of his first sis­ter and aimed to join the armed forces. Oth­ers were a newly minted col­lege grad­u­ate who worked with kids with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties and a stu­dent with plans to study law.

They were among a dozen peo­ple killed in a shoot­ing at a coun­try mu­sic bar in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the gun­man, Ian David Long, ul­ti­mately killed him­self.

The vic­tims’ sto­ries be­gan to emerge Thurs­day as of­fi­cials were still reach­ing out to their fam­i­lies. It was go­ing to be a “very dif­fi­cult day for many peo­ple,” said An­drew Fox, mayor of Thou­sand Oaks, where the at­tack hap­pened Wed­nes­day night.

RON HELUS: 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 took up fly fish­ing a few years ago and loved pur­su­ing the hobby in the Sierra Nevada with his grown son, Sgt. Eric 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.”

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.

CODY COFF­MAN: Cody Coff­man had just turned 22 and was about to ful­fill his dream of serv­ing his coun­try by join­ing the Army, said his fa­ther, Ja­son Coff­man, who wept as he told a group of re­porters that his first­born son was among the vic­tims.

Cody adored his sib­lings — three broth­ers, ages 6 to 9 — and he couldn’t wait for the birth of a sis­ter, due Nov. 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.”

Ja­son Coff­man said his son was pas­sion­ate about base­ball, serv­ing as a youth um­pire, and they went fish­ing to­gether.

JUSTIN MEEK: Justin Meek grad­u­ated in May from Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity, where the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.