Coronado man killed in Thousand Oaks massacre ‘heroically saved lives’

CORONADO, Calif. -- A Coronado High School graduate was killed trying to rescue others from the Thousand Oaks bar shooting that left at least 12 people dead late Wednesday night.

Justin Meek, 23, was a recent graduate of Cal Lutheran University. The school confirmed his death in a campus alert late Thursday morning, writing that he was "one of the precious lives cut short in this tragedy."

Family members and friends gathered to honor Meek at Spreckels Park in Coronado. They told FOX 5 he was a bouncer and promoter at the Borderline Bar & Grill where the shooting took place. Justin wasn't working Wednesday night, but he was at the club with friends and one of the first people to jump in and try to help, breaking windows and ushering people out of the bar, loved ones have learned.

"Meek heroically saved lives in the incident," his college alma mater said Thursday. "Cal Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring."

Meek graduated from Coronado High in 2014, where he was beloved on campus and served as the school's mascot.

"Justin possessed an approachability and personality which endeared him to all," Superintendent Karl Mueller wrote Thursday. "We will always remember his optimism, generosity and his warm smile. Justin was a former member of the CMS and CHS Junior Optimist Clubs, a gifted musician, a talented athlete, a spirited peer, a leader, a member of Islander Company, an advocate for others and a champion of all."

On Instagram, Meek had frequently promoted Borderline, inviting followers to ask for, "Justin at the door." He posted a photo to his account promoting Wednesday's College Country Night just hours before gunfire erupted at the event.

High school friends will hold a candlelight vigil at Spreckles Park for Meek at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

Sheriff's officials say a gunman opened fire in the packed bar shortly after 11 p.m., killing at least 12 people, including a sheriff’s sergeant, and wounding others before being found dead at the scene. The sheriff estimated a dozen or more people were injured. At least 15 people arrived at hospitals.

Ventura County Sheriff's Department later identified the shooter as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine.

There is a verified GoFundMe campaign to help families who lost a loved one in the massacre.