Remembering the Victims of the Thousand Oaks Shooting
All mass shootings shake our core, but Wednesday’s massacre at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks hits painfully close to home. Today, we are remembering the 12 lives senselessly lost. For background on the shooting, see our original article at CaliforniaCityNews.org.
Alaina Housely, 18
The youngest of the victims, 18-year-old Alaina Housely, was a native of Napa, California who was studying English at Pepperdine University in Malibu. She had only recently graduated with honors from Vintage High School where she played varsity soccer and served in student government.
Alaina is the niece of former Fox News reporter Adam Housely and his wife Tamara Mowry-Housely, star of the 1990s sitcom Sister, Sister.
Blake Dingman, 21
Blake Dingham of Newbury Park was a motorsport enthusiast who played high school baseball for Hillcrest Christian School in Thousand Oaks.
Cody Gifford-Coffman, 22
Cody was the head umpire for the Camarillo Baseball League who had hopes of joining the U.S. Military. He was the eldest of three boys and was looking forward to welcoming a baby sister at the end of this month.
A heart-wrenching interview with Cody’s father and grandfather has gone viral on social media sites.
“Oh, Cody. I love you, son,” said his distraught father, Jason Coffman, between sobs. “This is going to be an absolutely heart-wrenching time for me and for my family... For me, this is a heart that I’ll never get back.”
Daniel Manrique, 33
Daniel Manrique was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and an employee of a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps U.S. veterans readjust to civilian life. He was also a captain of the Ventura County chapter of veterans group Red, White, and Blue.
In 2007, Manrique served with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, as a radio operator in the Middle East.
Jacob Dunham, 21
Jacob Dunham was a resident of Newbury Park who enjoyed off-roading and vacationing in the area of Lake Havasu.
Justin Meek, 23
Justin Meek graduated from California Lutheran University in May and was working as a bouncer at the Borderline Bar and Grill the night of the shooting. Meek was reportedly among those helping people escape the carnage inside the bar.
“The Cal Lutheran community is filled with sorrow over the violent events that took place last night a few miles from campus in Thousand Oaks,” read a statement from Meek’s alma mater. “Cal Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring.”
Kristina Morisette, 20
A graduate of Simi Valley High School, Kristina Morisette was working as a cashier at Borderline on Wednesday night. She was hoping to apply for an animal training program in Austin soon.
Mark Meza, 20
Mark Meza, affectionately known as “Marky,” was a native of the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria areas and a graduate of Carpentaria High School. He was working as a busboy and food runner at Borderline.
Meza was just two weeks shy of his 21st birthday.
Noel Sparks, 21
Noel was an art major at Moorpark College and a devoted churchgoer who helped with the children’s program at Westlake Village’s Calvary Community Church.
Sean Adler, 48
Sean Adler was working as a bouncer at Borderline the night of the shooting, but he was also an entrepreneur who had just opened his own coffee shop in Simi Valley known as Rivalry Roasters.
Adler’s son says his dad also died a hero, running at the gunman in attempt to stop him.
Sgt. Ron Helus, 54
Sgt. Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department was a 29-year veteran of the force, a husband, and a father of a 24-year-old son. He had planned on retiring within the next year. Helus was among the first two officers to arrive on the scene while the gunman was still shooting. He placed a final call to his wife before rushing into the line of gunfire.
Telemachus Orfanos, 27
After graduating from Thousand Oaks High School, Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos joined Moorpark College and then the U.S. Navy. He worked at Borderline but was off work the night of the shooting, enjoying a night out with friends. In a tragic irony, Orfanos had escaped the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada last year. An interview with his mother has also taken the internet by storm.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn’t come home last night,” Susan Schmidt-Orfanos told ABC News. “And I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”