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National
Thousand Oaks shooting: All 12 victims identified
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Thousand Oaks shooting: All 12 victims identified

VIDEO: Victims of the Thousand Oaks Shooting

Thousand Oaks shooting: All 12 victims identified

Twelve people died late Wednesday after a gunman opened fire on a crowd gathered for a weekly country music dance night popular with college students at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

>> Read more trending news

Deputies did not immediately release the names of the victims as they worked to notify their families.

>> Thousand Oaks shooting: 12 killed, including deputy, at California bar; suspect also dead

Here’s what we know about the victims:

Ron Helus, 54

 

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department, died Wednesday night while responding to reports of the shooting, according to deputies.

“Ron was a great guy. He was close to everybody,” Sheriff Geoff Dean said. “He was a hard worker and hearts are broken all over.”

Dean said Helus was on the phone with his wife Wednesday night, something he often did during his shifts, when a call about the shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill came in, Dean said.

>> On Fox 23.com: Sergeant killed in California mass shooting is Oklahoma alum 

“He said to her, ‘Hey, I’ve got to go handle a call, I love you, I’ll talk to you later,’” Dean said. “He went in there to save people and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Helus is survived by his wife and a grown son.

“Ron’s selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten,” deputies said Thursday morning in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Cody Coffman, 22

Frederic J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images
Jason Coffman displays a photo of his son Cody outside the Thousands Oaks Teene Center where he came hoping to find his son who was at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 8, 2018. - Twelve people, including a police sergeant, were shot dead in a shooting at the bar close to Los Angeles, police said Thursday. All the victims were killed inside the bar in the suburb of Thousand Oaks late on November 7, including the officer who had been called to the scene, Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters. The gunman was also dead at the scene, Dean added.
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Thousand Oaks shooting: What we know about the victims

Photo Credit: Frederic J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images
Jason Coffman displays a photo of his son Cody outside the Thousands Oaks Teene Center where he came hoping to find his son who was at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 8, 2018. - Twelve people, including a police sergeant, were shot dead in a shooting at the bar close to Los Angeles, police said Thursday. All the victims were killed inside the bar in the suburb of Thousand Oaks late on November 7, including the officer who had been called to the scene, Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters. The gunman was also dead at the scene, Dean added.

Jason Coffman told reporters on Thursday that deputies confirmed his son, Cody Coffman, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.

Jason Coffman said his son had recently moved in with him and his wife.

“I talked to him last night before he headed out the door,” he said. “First thing I said was, ‘Please, don’t drink and drive.’ Last thing I said was, ‘Son, I love you.’”

Jason Coffman said deputies told him that his son was found dead at the scene of Wednesday’s mass shooting.

“His life was cut short at too young of an age, but we have faith in our God,” said Jason Coffman’s father-in-law, Mike Johnston. “Life is sacred and we should cherish it. I can’t comprehend – we want to look for reasons. There is no reason why evil things happen.”

Cody Coffman is survived by three younger brothers and a soon-to-be-born sister.

Alaina Housley, 18

In a statement released to BuzzFeed News, actress Tamara Mowry-Housley and her husband, Adam Housley, confirmed that their niece, Alaina, was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday's shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.

"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. "We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."

>> Photos: 12 killed in Thousand Oaks, California, bar shooting

Alaina Housley was a freshman at Pepperdine University. Two of her suitemates said they jumped through a broken window to escape from the shooting, Adam Housley told the San Diego Union-Tribune. He said they told him they lost sight of Alaina Housley in the chaotic aftermath of the attack.

 

 

“She’s an amazing girl,” Adam Housley told the Union-Tribune. “I know you always hear those things.”

Justin Meek, 23

 

Officials with California Lutheran University confirmed Thursday that one of the college's recent graduates was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill. 

"Sadly, we have learned from the family that a recent graduate, Justin Meek, 23, is one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy,” officials said on the university’s website. “Meek heroically saved lives in the incident.”

Daniel Manrique, 33

 

Daniel Manrique, a former Marine sergeant, volunteered to help the homeless and to help provide daycare services at a church while also working with Team Red, White and Blue, a non-profit group that helps veterans transition back to the community, The Orange County Register reported.

“The best way I can describe him is as a ‘saint.’ He truly believed in service,” Tim O’Brien, Manrique’s friend and business partner, told the Register. “Dan was the guy you could rely on if you ran out of gas in the middle of the night. He would help you out if something bad happened. He was there, dedicated, loyal.”

According to Team Red, White and Blue, Manrique served as a radio operator with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Manrique was at Borderline Bar & Grill meeting friends Wednesday night, according to KNBC.

Noel Sparks, 21

 

United Methodist Church Westlake Village confirmed in a Facebook post that Noel Sparks was among the 12 people killed in Wednesday night’s shooting.

Rev. Walter Dilg, senior pastor at United Methodist Church, told The Press-Enterprise that Sparks grew up in the church, participating in Sunday groups and the choir. She went to a different church once she got into Moorpark College, according to The Press-Enterprise.

“She was always so joyful to help others and fill needs,” the newspaper reported Sparks’s friend, Sarah Penrose, wrote in a Facebook post. “Wishing I could have spent more time with her before this happened.”

Jake Dunham, 21

 

Dunham's father told KTLA that he tried to get a hold of him all Thursday morning, but he never answered the phone.

"I keep calling it but there’s no answer," Dunham’s told KNBC. "It just keeps ringing out. And he always answers his phone."

The Thousand Oaks Acorn later confirmed Dunham was among the people killed Wednesday night at Borderline Bar & Grill.

The brother of Blake Dingman, another victim of Wednesday’s shooting, said on Instagram that Dingman and Dunham were good friends.

Sean Adler, 48

 

Sean Adler worked as a bouncer at Borderline Bar & Grill and had been a strength coach at Royal High School, according to a post on the Royal Wrestling Facebook page.

“He was positive, motivational, and truly wanted the best for the people around him,” the post said. “Thank you Sean for your help and most of all your friendship.”

Earlier this year, Adler opened a coffee shop called Rivalry Roasters in a strip mall in Simi Valley, the Ventura County Star reported.

Blake Dingman, 21

 

The Thousand Oaks Acorn reported Blake Dingman was among the victims in Wednesday’s deadly shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill.

Aidan Dingman, identified by KTLA as Blake Dingman’s brother, took to Instagram to mourn his brother.

“Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling,” he wrote in a post that included a photo of himself and his brother. “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.”

Kristina Morisette, 20

 

The Thousand Oaks Acorn confirmed Kristina Morisette was among those killed in Wednesday night’s shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. Social media reports indicated she was working at the bar when the shooting started.

Morisette was from Simi Valley and loved country music, KNBC reported.

“Kristina was always the nicest girl,” Brandon Bohning, 19, who grew up with Morisette, told the San Bernadino County Sun. “She never had a frown on her face – it was rare. She always had a positive attitude about everything. She never picked on anyone growing up.”

Telemachus Orfanos, 27

 

The Thousand Oaks High School track and field team confirmed on Twitter that Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos, the son of the team’s high jump coach Marc Orfanos, died in Wednesday's shooting.

"There are no words for this tragedy," the team said in a Twitter post. "Our hearts are breaking for Marc and his family."

Telemachus Orfanos served for 2 1/2 years in the U.S. Navy and sometimes worked as a bouncer at Borderline Bar & Grill, The Ventura County Star reported. However, his father told the newspaper that he wasn't working on the night of the shooting.

Marky Meza Jr., 20 

 

Marky Meza Jr., a 20-year-old busboy and food runner was identified by family members as one of the victims, KEYT reported. He was raised in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and worked at the restaurant as a busboy and food runner, the station said. 

Meza graduated from Carpinteria High School, the television station reported.

According to a statement released by the family, Meza would have turned 21 on Nov. 19.
“Marky was a loving and wonderful young man who was full of life and ambition,” the statement said. “His family is devastated by his loss. … His family asks for peace and respect at this time to allow them to grieve privately.”

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The Department of Education said withholding the report was intentional, repeating the argument it has made in court and in public that only it has jurisdiction over student loan servicing issues, through its Federal Student Aid division, or FSA, which oversees student loans. 'FSA performed the review as part of its own contract oversight, not for the benefit of other agencies,' said Liz Hill, a Department of Education spokeswoman. When student borrowers run into difficulties making payments, they can be offered forbearance, which allows them to delay payments for a set period of time. But under a forbearance plan, in most instances, the loan continues to accumulate interest and becomes a more expensive option in the long run. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleges in its lawsuit against Navient that between 2010 and 2015 Navient's behavior added nearly $4 billion in interest to student borrowers' loans through the overuse of forbearance. It is a figure that Navient disputes. A 2017 study by the Government Accountability Office estimates that a typical borrower of a $30,000 student loan who places their loan into forbearance for three years — the maximum allowed for economic-hardship forbearance — would pay an additional $6,742 in interest on that loan. 'This finding is both tragic and infuriating, and the findings appear to validate the allegations that Navient boosted its profits by unfairly steering student borrowers into forbearance when that was often the worst financial option for them,' Warren said in a letter to Navient last week. As part of their inquiry, DoE auditors listened in on about 2,400 randomly selected calls to borrowers from 2014 to 2017 out of a batch of 219,000. On nearly one out of 10 of the calls examined, the Navient representative did not mention other options, including one type of plan that estimates the size of a monthly payment the borrower can afford based on their income. Auditors wrote that many customer service representatives failed to ask questions to determine if such a plan, known as an income-driven repayment plan, might be more beneficial to the borrower. There is no public record of how many struggling borrowers serviced by Navient may have been impacted by these practices. In its most recent annual report, Navient says it services 6 million student loan borrowers, of which 12.7 percent are more than 30 days past due. That would be roughly 762,000 customers who are struggling in some fashion to pay their student loans. If one out of every 10 of those customers were pushed into forbearance instead of an income-driven repayment plan, as the department's audit found, that would be 76,200 of Navient's borrowers. The DoE report contains recommendations for how Navient could fix its practices but makes no mention of firm requirements or sanctions. The education department's Federal Student Aid division decided to do a review of Navient's forbearance practices after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed its lawsuit against the company in January 2017, department spokeswoman Hill said, to see if there were any compliance issues. She said DoE officials came to the conclusion that Navient was not improperly steering borrowers. 'Nothing in the report indicates forbearances were applied inappropriately — the observations noted focused on suggested improvements regarding how to best counsel' a small minority of borrowers, she said. In response to questions over the 2017 audit, Navient pointed to the fact that nine out of every 10 borrowers on the calls were offered all their options and that this audit is just one piece of a broader story. 'This (audit), when viewed as a whole, as well as dozens of other audits and reviews, show that Navient overwhelmingly performs in accordance with program rules while consistently helping borrowers choose the right options for their circumstances,' said Paul Hartwick, a company spokesman. Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, is a publicly traded company. In calls and presentations with investors, Navient has said a company priority is to lower the its operational costs. As a student loan servicing company, Navient has one primary operating cost: its employees, including the hundreds of customer-service agents who man Navient's telephones every day. The fewer customer-service agents Navient employs, the more money Navient puts in its pocket. Doing calls to determine whether a borrower should be in an income-driven repayment plan takes longer, student loan industry experts say. In fact, that is exactly what Navient said in its response to the Department of Education's audit. 'We (are not) aware of any requirement that borrowers receive all of their repayment options ... on each and every call,' the company said, adding that if the Department of Education chose to require all servicers to discuss income-driven repayment plans with all borrowers, the Department of Education needs to redo its contract with Navient. Seth Frotman, who was the highest-ranking government official in charge of student loans until he quit in August in protest over how the Trump-controlled Department of Education and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were handling the issue of student loans, said Navient's response was outrageous. 'In short, Navient, when confronted with evidence of its bad practices, is telling the government, 'Pay us more money or take a hike.' And It looks like the Department of Education took a hike,' Frotman said. ___ Ken Sweet covers banks and consumer financial issues for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @kensweet.
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  • Ohio police officials have released the chilling 911 call made by the sister of a disgraced former Cuyahoga County judge Saturday, in which she reported her brother stabbed his ex-wife to death in his driveway. Lance Mason, 51, of Shaker Heights, was removed from the bench in 2014 after he viciously beat his then-estranged wife, elementary schoolteacher Aisha Fraser, in front of the couple’s two children.  Fraser, 44, died in a pool of blood Saturday morning as her children, Audrey, 11, and Ava, 8, screamed and sobbed inside their father’s Chagrin Boulevard home. The older girl has Down syndrome. As of Tuesday morning, Mason had been charged with felonious assault on suspicion of striking a police officer with his vehicle as he tried to flee the scene. Charges had not been filed in Fraser’s death.  The former state legislator and common pleas court judge, who allegedly tried to kill himself after the fatal stabbing, remains in the hospital. He is being held without bond.  Related story: Ohio judge removed from bench for beating wife in 2014 accused of stabbing her to death The audio released by Shaker Heights authorities begins with Mason’s distraught sister, Lynn Mason, telling her nieces to “come here.” The 911 dispatcher asks about her emergency. “I need the police immediately,” Lynn Mason says. “My brother is attacking his ex-wife.” She gives the dispatcher her brother’s address on Chagrin Boulevard before tearfully telling her they will also need an ambulance.  The dispatcher asks if both Lance Mason and Fraser are still there. “They’re outside. I… I… I don’t know. I heard her screaming,” Lynn Mason says.  “OK, are there any guns or knives involved?” the dispatcher asks.  “I don’t know. I think there might be,” Lynn Mason says. “Please hurry.” Listen to Lynn Mason’s 911 call below, courtesy of WKYC in Cleveland. Warning: The call may be too disturbing for some listeners. The dispatcher asks the caller to stay on the phone and relay to her what is happening. Lynn Mason says she can’t tell what is going on because she is inside the house with the couple’s children.  “I’m inside with the daughter. I don’t want her to see anything,” she says.  The dispatcher tells her to keep the girl inside and try to stay calm so the girl doesn’t get upset. “I’m going to get my guys started out that way, OK, so just stay on the phone with me,” the dispatcher says.  After a few moments, Lynn Mason can be heard telling her niece to stay where she is while she goes and checks outside to see what’s going on. The dispatcher can be heard relaying information to responding officers while Mason’s sister checks on Fraser and her brother.  “Ma’am? Ma’am,” Lynn Mason says upon her return. “Yes ma’am?” the dispatcher says. “He stabbed her and he said she’s dead,” Lynn Mason says.  “Oh my gosh,” the dispatcher responds.  The dispatcher relays information of a “possible stabbing and DOA” to responding Shaker Heights police officers. There are several moments in which the dispatcher and officers talk back and forth about the logistics of the police response. After a while, Lance Mason is heard coming back into the house. The dispatcher gets a description of his clothes from his sister and asks if he still has the knife or if he left it outside.  “I don’t know. He walked in and there’s blood everywhere,” Lynn Mason says as at least one of her nieces wails in the background. Lance Mason walks out again and the audio consists for a while of the dispatcher talking to officers, the back and forth punctuated by the shriek of sirens.  “Oh my God,” Lynn Mason whispers to herself at one point.  Lance Mason comes back inside the house as officers start to pull up to the scene. The dispatcher relays that information to the officers.  “Ten-four, we know,” an officer says.  “OK, are my officers there?” the dispatcher asks him.  An officer comes on and says there is a female down at the scene.  “She does look like she’s been stabbed,” the officer says.  A little while later, another officer comes on the audio. “Radio, send a squad to my location. The guy rammed me from behind,” says the officer, who was later identified by Shaker Heights police officials as Officer Adam Flynt. News 5 in Cleveland reported Monday that the officer suffered serious injuries to his legs and ribs. Court records obtained by Fox 8 in Cleveland indicated Mason was driving “fast enough to cause multiple airbag deployments and disabling damage to both vehicles.” Flynt and Lance Mason were both hospitalized.  The dispatcher asks Lynn Mason if she knows where her brother is. “He’s walking around,” she responds. “He’s walking around. I think he wants to die to, so…” The dispatcher asks Lynn Mason where she and the girls are in the house because three officers, plus a detective, are about to enter. She tells the woman they are in the living room, facing the street out front.  Lance Mason paces around the kitchen for a while before going into the living room with his sister and daughters. An officer comes over the radio and says Fraser is down and not breathing. The dispatcher tells him paramedics are on the way.  A few seconds later, officers can be heard yelling as they get inside the house.  The children can be heard crying. One girl is talking to her aunt, though WKYC edited the audio to remove things the children said during the call. News 5 reported that the girl, sobbing, said, “He killed her.”  “I know, baby. I’m so sorry,” Lynn Mason responds.  A former babysitter for Fraser and her ex-husband told Cleveland.com Monday that the little girls were Frazer’s life. She also loved her job at Woodbury Elementary School, where a candlelight vigil was held Monday evening to remember the longtime teacher.  The Shaker Heights Teachers’ Association organized the vigil and established a GoFundMe page for Fraser’s children. As of Tuesday morning, the fundraising page had raised nearly $110,000.  “We are in deep mourning,” read a post on the association’s Facebook page. “Aisha exemplified the best of Shaker Heights teachers: smart, amazingly caring of her students and her colleagues, active in her profession and in our association. She is loved by many.” Hundreds of people gathered Monday night to remember Fraser, whose photo was displayed at the school’s entrance as family members, colleagues, students and friends recalled her spirit. Cleveland.com reported that Woodbury Principal Danny Young remembered her kindness, compassion and love, as well as her sense of humor. “We have lost an angel, as well as a phenomenal educator,” Young said.  Fraser’s pastor, Chip Freed, of Garfield Memorial Church, told the crowd they have all been left with questions about why her life was ended.  “Aisha’s light is now shining on another shore,” Freed said. “As for the rest of us, we can either curse the darkness, or we can light candles.” WKYC reported that Mason was removed from the bench about a month after an Aug. 2, 2014, assault on Fraser, in which he punched Fraser about 20 times and slammed her head repeatedly against the dashboard of his SUV. He also bit her and choked her as he drove, Cleveland.com reported.  The estranged couple were driving back from a family member’s funeral with their daughters. According to a 911 call Fraser made, which was obtained in 2014 by Cleveland.com, Mason kicked her out of the SUV and, after beating her some more outside of the vehicle, drove away with the children.  Fraser, who feared for the safety of her daughters, begged dispatchers to find her children.  “I’m afraid he’s going to hurt my daughters,” a frantic-sounding Fraser said. “Please find my kids!” Click here to listen to Aisha Fraser’s 2014 911 call, courtesy of Cleveland.com. It may be too graphic for some listeners.  Mason was arrested at his home, where officers found smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a sword, Cleveland.com reported.  After serving nine months of a two-year prison sentence for the beating, which left Fraser needing surgery to repair a fractured eye socket, Mason was hired last year by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, who named Mason the city’s minority business development administrator.  Jackson issued a statement Saturday in which he said city officials were aware of Mason’s arrest and that the former judge had been terminated, effective immediately. City officials were cooperating with Shaker Heights investigators in the homicide case.  “I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Aisha Fraser, especially to her children,” Jackson said.  Fox 8 reported Monday that Jackson stood by his hiring of Mason following his prison stint, saying he had no way to predict the future. He also stood by his policy of giving people second chances.  “We’re gonna look at it as a policy. Our policy is second chances unless there is something that would prevent us from doing it,” Jackson told the news station. “For example, you wouldn’t hire a convicted felon and put them around children. You wouldn’t hire an embezzler and put them in the finance department.”
  • At the end of every fiscal year, a spending spree of billions of federal tax dollars occurs in a matter of days. But not all of that money goes to essential items. We found examples of federal purchases for wine, snowboards, pianos, guitars and fancy gym equipment. We dug through thousands of federal contracts for September, the last month of the fiscal year. In just one month, the U.S. government spent more than $6.2 million dollars on gym equipment. That includes millions spent on CrossFit equipment, one of the country’s hottest fitness trends. The State Department specified in a contract for jump ropes that they specifically needed the brand endorsed by CrossFit star Rich Froning. We also found orders for music equipment, like a $20,000 grand piano, Fender guitars and saxophones. Other contracts included $10,000 for snowboards and dozens of iPads. >> Read more trending news  The end-of-year spending is part of a practice called “Use it or Lose it” budgeting. Federal agencies worry they will not receive as much money in the next year’s budget if they don’t spend every penny they currently have. One out of every nine dollars spent by the federal government occurs in just the last seven days of the fiscal year, according to Adam Andrzejewski of Openthebooks.com, a government watchdog group. “When the bureaucrats cannot even spend all the money that Congress is sending them, there's a problem,” Andrzejewski said. We looked at spending in the nearly two months since the fiscal year ended. So far in October and November, only two contracts were issued for gym equipment, totaling $20,000. That is compared to the more than $6.2 million dollars spent the month before. Openthebooks.com has been tracking government purchases as well. They placed an ad in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal listing more than one hundred examples of wasteful federal spending. Last year, they found thousands of dollars in year-end spending specifically on fidget spinners, liquor and wine. “We identified in the last fiscal year that $50 billion dollars of contract spending went out the door in the last 7 days of the fiscal year,” Andrzejewski said. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, introduced a bill that would award bonuses to federal employees who cut budgets. We first reported on that legislation two years ago, and so far it has gone nowhere. We asked the Defense Department why they needed these purchases in a short period of time, and they referred us to individual branches of service. The Army, the largest spender among the military, has not yet responded to our questions.