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Vigil held to honor beloved University Heights bartender killed in hit-and-run

Posted at 6:54 AM, Jun 16, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Sometimes it's best to come together and celebrate a life taken far too soon.

That life was Josh Gilliland’s.

"I'd just like people to remember his kindness and to be more like Josh. He was a very kind people, kind soul and always took everybody into consideration,” said longtime friend Scott Moore.

"And someone out there isn't sleeping well because they know what they did,” longtime friend Lisa Kogan said.

RELATED: Police search for driver in University Heights hit-and-run

Kogan told ABC 10News they were gathered on Thursday to honor Gilliland, who passed away on Wednesday following a hit-and-run crash that happened on June 10.

According to San Diego Police, Gilliland was standing near the bus lane and next to the crosswalk at the intersection of El Cajon and Park boulevards.

A car, described as a Honda Civic or BMW 3 series, was traveling on Park Boulevard when it turned right and hit Gilliland.

Police said the vehicle then drove off onto El Cajon Boulevard.

"He just left his house going to work. Just going to work and he didn't make it because someone was reckless,” Kogan said.

"Josh was the kind of person who would cross an intersection unless the actual white man blinking was there. If it was counting down 10, 9, 8, he wouldn't. He was just very cautious,” Moore said.

RELATED: Loved ones remember man struck by hit-and-run driver in University Heights

Hundreds of this cautious and kind man's friends came together at the intersection where the accident happened.

The loved ones told stories, lit a candle for their friend and made the walk to work at Cheers that was cut short for Gilliland.

"I'll just be remembering Josh and the good times that we had together and in this neighborhood with all of our friends. These are our stomping grounds unfortunately this intersection will leave a bad taste in our mouths,” Moore said.

They're hoping to raise awareness about this intersection.

"It doesn't make any sense to have this intersection, which is so confusing, right in between Hillcrest and University Heights. I mean, this is a major thoroughfare for people to walk between neighborhoods,” Moore said. “And if the goal is to have a more pedestrian-friendly city, we really should do something about this."

This moment is for Gilliland. It's also a moment where many who loved him are heartbroken and asking what happened.

"So, we're asking for you to come forward, give us all closure. Give yourself closure,” Kogan said.