CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - A Coronado native is among the 12 people killed in the Thousand Oaks country bar shooting, according to California Lutheran University.
Justin Meek, 23, was working as a bouncer at Borderline Bar and Grill when Ian David Long walked in and opened fire. Meek's sister, who was at the bar and survived, reported that Meek broke out windows to help survivors escape.
Meek initially survived the shooting and was reported in critical condition before the university confirmed his death Thursday morning.
Friends and family gathered for a vigil at Coronado’s Spreckels Park.
“Justin is a great kid. Really sweet and full of life…big in music and a big part of the community,” a friend told 10News.
According to the WayUp website, Meek was a recent graduate of California Lutheran University, an Eagle Scout, and a former City of Coronado and Coronado High School lifeguard. He also performed as Coronado High’s “Mr. Tiki” mascot before graduating in 2014.
"Our community is devastated to have lost one of our own to a senseless act of violence. We are here to support the Meek family and our community," said Coronado High School principal Shane Schmeichel.
California Lutheran University issued a statement about the loss.
The Cal Lutheran community is filled with sorrow over the violent events that took place last night a few miles from campus in Thousand Oaks. 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. Meek heroically saved lives in the incident.
The campus held a vigil at midday and announced a Catholic Rosary and campus gathering at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Karl Shelton, Director of Support Services for the San Diego - Imperial Council, Boy Scouts of America, sent a statement about the loss to 10News.
"It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Justin Meek in the Wednesday night shooting in Thousand Oaks," Shelton wrote. "Reports of his actions that night reflect his high character found in Scouting ideals, particularly bravery and service to others. Justin had grown up in Scouting and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2009. We are proud to have had him as a member of our organization."
"Our sympathy goes out to Justin's family, to his fellow Scouts in Coronado, and to his friends everywhere," Shelton said.
Meek had majored in criminal justice, school spokeswoman Karin Grennan said.
He 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."
Danielle Gallo, who also works at the family-run organization, said he was dedicated to the kids he worked with.
"You could tell he really had a heart for what he did," she said, sobbing.
Scott Roberts, 20, a junior at Cal Lutheran, said he's friends with Meek's sister, who also goes to the school, and that Meek is from a very tight family.
"He was just the nicest dude," he said a public ceremony on campus Thursday. "I'm just praying he's in a better place."
Coworkers of Meek's cousin started a GoFundMe account to raise money for funeral expenses.