Jason Coffman was among the hundreds of people who were desperately trying to reach their family members after the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. His son, Cody, was an enthusiastic dancer who was a regular at the bar’s Wednesday night line dancing event. By 6AM on Thursday morning, Jason Coffman said he still hadn’t heard from Cody. That’s when Jason used a tracking app to locate Cody’s phone — and he found that his son’s phone was still right there in the bar.
Of course, Jason went through the kind of private hell that any parent would in this case. He did his best to stay optimistic. But Jason also told reporters that his son was not the kind of boy to flee from gunfire.
“This is my firstborn child. I’m afraid he was the boy who went towards the gunman and not ran away. That’s the kind of boy that he is,” Jason told the press on Thursday morning.
Authorities later informed Jason that his firstborn son, Cody, had died at the scene of the horrific shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cody Was Getting Ready to Join the Army
Cody Coffman had just turned 22. He was preparing to enlist in the army. His father, Jason, described him as a brave young man — the kind of boy who would run towards the scene of a disaster, instead of running away from it. “That’s the kind of boy he is,” Jason said.
Cody was also an umpire in the Pony League, a baseball league for children in Camarillo, California. He was an athletic young man who loved baseball, football, and the outdoors. Cody’s Facebook page says that he was in a relationship. (His family has left up his Facebook page, adding a note to the page that reads, “We hope people who love Cody will find comfort in visiting his profile to remember and celebrate his life.”)
He said Cody was a loving son and called him “the kind of big brother my kids need.” Choking back tears, Jason also thanked the media for giving him the chance to tell his son’s story and to show his picture.
2. Cody Loved to Dance & Was a Regular at Borderline Bar & Grill
Cody Coffman father, Jason, told CBS2 that Cody went to the bar every Wednesday night to line dance. Jason said, “I talked to him last night before he headed out the door. First thing I said is, ‘please don’t drink and drive.’ Last thing I said is, ‘I love you.’”
Jason tracked Cody to the bar using an app on Cody’s phone. On Thursday morning, he was waiting for news of his son. He told local media, “I am very emotional right now. This is my first born son. To lose your kid in a senseless way like this is pretty tough. And I hope you’re out there and I hope you’re okay.”
3. Cody Was About to Have a Baby Sister
Cody’s father, Jason, tearfully told reporters about the deep love that he and his son had for one another. Jason said that his first daughter will be born soon — she is due on November 29 — and he expressed his heartbreak at the thought that now, his daughter will never have the chance to meet her older brother. Jason said Cody already has two younger brothers.
Jason said, “Cody was the big brother that my kids need. I have a baby daughter coming on the 29th of this month. He was so excited to have a baby sister. And now she’ll never know him.”
4. Cody’s Father Said ‘Only He and I Know How Much I Love Him, How Much I Miss Him’
A tearful Jason Coffman told reporters on Thursday that his son Cody had been killed in the horrific shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. Jason said that Cody was a loving son and a wonderful brother. Choking back tears, Jason said, “only he and I know how much I love him, how much I miss him.” He said, “Cody was athe big brother that my kids need. I have a baby daughter coming on the 29th of this month. He was so excited to have a baby sister. And now she’ll never know him.”
Jason thanked reporters for letting him tell his son’s story and show his picture.
5. Survivors Say Cody Helped to Save Their Lives
Sarah DeSon was one of the people who made it out of the Borderline Bar & Grill alive. She told the New York Times that she, and others, had survived because of Cody Coffman’s quick response.
“He was protecting everyone,” she said. “He got up and he just yelled, ‘Everyone, run!’”
Cody Coffman’s father, Jason, tracked Jason to the bar using his cell phone. Jason said he held out hope until the last minute — but finally authorities notified him that his son was among the victims of the attack.