SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – One of the victims from the shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks was identified as Coronado native, 23-year-old Justin Meek.
Justin grew up in Coronado and graduated in 2014. While at Coronado High School, he was the school's mascot. After graduating high school, Justin attended California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
With her voice shaking, family friend Toni Aden described the moment she discovered the Coronado native was among the victims killed in the bar shooting. “Shock. Disbelief. I thought, how could this happen to an incredible family and an incredible human being? Justin was larger than life.”
Aden has known the Meek family for years. Their kids went to school together. Her son was friends with Justin. “It is kind of hard for everybody. He was such as great person.”
Justin was a promoter at the Borderline Bar & Grill. Video posted on his Instagram account shows him at the bar in February.
“He did work at the club, but he was not working last night. He was just there for fun,” said Aden.
Unconfirmed reports state that Justin, who also served as a bouncer at the bar, was shot when he was trying to protect patrons.
On social media, condolences for him were posted. Many just stunned that the man they describe as full of life, outgoing and popular – is gone.
Unbelievable. Rest in peace Justin Meek. You are a hero and will never ever be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/Nftd1rA7u0— Jake Gould (@jakegould10) November 8, 2018
“You just hate for someone as special as him, as loving as him to be gone,” said Aden.
Asante Sefa-Boakye went to high school and college with Justin. They played on the water polo team. “He was a good guy. A really good guy – very much so into music. [A] great voice.”
The Orange County Register on Thursday reported that Justin was also a Disneyland Christmas singer.
An online statement by California Lutheran University said the community filled with sorrow. "Meek heroically saved lives in the incident," the statement said.
The university cancelled classes Thursday and planned on holding several memorials and gatherings throughout the day to remember the victims.
Justin worked as a respite caregiver supporting families with children with special needs, said Sharon Francis, chief executive of Channel Island Social Services. He was hired last summer and mostly worked with kids with developmental disabilities.
"Parents just adored him. He was able to bond with their kids," she said. "He was just an all-around guy."
The flags across the county and in Coronado were lowered half mast in honor of the victims.
On Thursday night, a vigil was held for Justin in Coronado.
Thousand Oaks, CA Shooting Press Conference | Thursday, Nov 8. Click here to view on YouTube.