One was a veteran police officer who didn't hesitate to run toward danger.
On Thursday morning, he shared a tearful phone call with authorities who told him his son had been shot. Others were a newly minted college graduate who worked with kids with developmental disabilities and a student with plans to study law.
A college country music night was under way when the suspect, apparently dressed in black, entered the bar and opened fire.
Authorities later informed Jason that his firstborn son, Cody, had died at the scene of the horrific shooting.
Ventura County sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus.
"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff's sergeant who was totally committed", Mr Dean said.
"When (he) started to reload, that's when we got people out of there and I didn't look back", Wennerstron said.
"When I talked to the parishioners there, I followed up on the rabbi". Witnesses report at least 30 shots were fired, according to the Los Angeles Times. "He's just one of those guys that wouldn't hesitate in a situation".
Helus, 54, was survived by his wife and son.
"We didn't take it seriously at first. because it sounded like firecrackers and everyone just dropped down to the floor". "Patient. Calm no matter what".More news: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized after fall at court
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Helus was on the SWAT team for much of his career and worked in narcotics and investigations, he said.
"He loved spending time with his son", said Buschow. He was found dead inside the club.
Civilians and other deputies pulled Sergeant Helus from the bar.
Immediately following Helus' death, Dean held back tears as he remembered Helus during a press conference, ABC-owned station KABC reported.
Cody was planning to join the army, his father said, having recently celebrated his birthday.
"Cody was the big brother that my kids need", Coffman said. I have a daughter coming on the 29th of this month. By 6AM on Thursday morning, Jason Coffman said he still hadn't heard from Cody.
"That poor boy would come with me whether he liked it or not", he said.
I feel kind of guilty that I didn't do something to try to stop it.
Ventura County Sheriff's deputies responded to the Borderline Bar and Grill, some 40 miles west of L.A., at about 11:20 p.m.
"The first thing I said was, 'Please don't drink and drive, ' " Coffman said. "The last thing I said was, 'Son, I love you'".
Screaming in fear, patrons rushed for the exits, dived under tables and used barstools to smash second-floor windows and jump to safety as gunfire reverberated through the Borderline Bar & Grill, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University. Neither he nor his son were physically injured in the attack, but he said the mental scars will linger for some time.