Thousand Oaks community gathers to remember mass shooting victims

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Loved ones came together Tuesday night to honor the victims of the Thousand Oaks mass shooting and take a small step in the healing process.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- Jason Coffman stood before hundreds gathered at Pepper Tree Playfield in Thousand Oaks on Tuesday night to honor his 22-year-old son Cody and the 11 other victims of the Borderline Bar and Grill mass shooting.

"I know the parents that are grieving. I know exactly how you're feeling," Coffman said. "I don't know how I'm going to move on from day to day."

"I am absolutely grieving, just like you guys," he added.

Cody dreamed of serving the country in the military, like his best friend Brandon Garza, who shared some favorite memories of his friend at the gathering.

"Whenever something funny would happen, you can just tell he was in the room from his laugh," Garza said. "He had that one special laugh, and that one special smile."

The community has been hit hard. First by the mass shooting, then a day later by wildfires that forced evacuations and destroyed property.

"In the face of a tragedy, we look to comfort each other, to put our arms around each other and tonight we begin that healing process," said Geo Garces, a Shorline Church minister.

"Keep your heads high for Cody. Please don't drown in sorrow. He went out a good man," Coffman said to the crowd.

Clutching 12 red roses, fighting back tears, Coffman asked the families who lost loved ones to come forward. One by one, they comforted each other.

"I'm going to be OK," Coffman said. "I know that the families are going to be OK and I know that everybody else is going to be OK because, my God, look at our community."

MORE: Remembering the victims of the Thousand Oaks mass shooting