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Family of Gaslamp shooting victim Justice Boldin tries to make sense of 'senseless' act

Mother says her son is 'more than a victim'
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23 Justice and Belli 2.jpg
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Steve Atkinson with Boldin Family
Posted at 11:20 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 00:20:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Life in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is returning to normal, but nothing will ever really be normal again for the family of Justice Boldin.

A mother and three sisters are trying to understand a meaningless tragedy and how to move forward without him. They sat down with 10News Anchor Steve Atkinson to share the story of a young man who had his whole life ahead of him.

"Holidays are going to be hard, however, we are a family of faith," said Justice's mother Denise Boldin. "And we believe that he went straight from the valet podium to the arms of God."

It's been a week since Denise Boldin lost her son to a shooting in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. A valet attendant outside the Pendry Hotel, Justice Boldin was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when a gunman decided to go on a random shooting spree.

The man killed the 28-year-old Boldin and wounded four others the night of April 22. Now, Denise Boldin is trying to somehow make sense of the senseless.

"Moment by moment," she said. "But at one time I think how hard the rest of my life is going to be without him. Because he brought so much joy to our family."


That's what Denise Boldin and her daughters Samantha, Braedyn, and Jordyn want people to remember most about Justice -- the joy, and not the victim.

Justice Boldin had a passion for baseball from the age of 8 and was a promising pitcher through college until an injury shortened his career. But he could still bring the heat and was invited by an adult league team in San Diego to be their ace.

"They took him on and I believe he was their number one pitcher. Other teams were saying they didn't want to have to hit against him," Denise said with a smile.

Justice moved to San Diego in March 2020, right as COVID hit. He fit right in and passed the time during the lockdown with his adopted dog Belli. They were inseparable. The parking gig was to pay his way through flight school, as he was going to start taking lessons this week.

Justice was a surfer, happy to be a new uncle, and was so excited about beginning a new life in San Diego.

"He just wanted to live life to the fullest and he really did. I mean he was always smiling," said his oldest sister Samantha.

What no one can understand is why this happened. Justice just happened to be in that place, at that moment. It could have been anyone.

"Today, I was at the hotel and I was told that there should have been other valets on that night," said Denise. "But they didn't have very many cars, and so Justice told the other people, 'You go home.'"

That act of kindness, leading to an inexplicable tragedy. The family has been told by investigators they still don't know why Justice was targeted first with that fatal shot.

"I believe it was just random. We haven't been told anything specific," added Denise.

The suspect in this case, San Diego resident Travis Sarreshteh, will be in court next week. Police say he used an untraceable "ghost gun" to kill Justin and wound the four other men, but the family feels that made no difference.

"I think it would have happened regardless," said Denise. "Anyone who has an illegal gun is going to be able to get an illegal gun, I believe, no matter what laws are."

Denise will go back home to Page, Arizona, with Justice's dog Belli. And the memories she wants everyone to know about her son of 28 years are he was more than a victim.

"He was very caring, he loved his mother, and he was a very good friend to me," said Denise. "I want people to remember Justice for his kind heart."

A GoFundMein Memory of Justice Boldin has been growing by the day and the goal has been raised to $100,000 as a result.

The family also plans to start a scholarship in Justice's name at some point. You can keep up to date on that and other events to remember Justice Boldin on the Justice for Justice Facebook page.