A vigil for Justin Meeks, 23, was held at Spreckels Park in Coronado. Candles flickered in the dark and tears fell as a song by one of Meek's favorite artists was sung. Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey then stood before the crowd to talk about the positive and outgoing young man.
“In the little spare time he had, he was a lifeguard here in Coronado, looking out for others -- a theme that would last until the final moments of his life," Bailey said.
Witnesses said Meek did not hesitate when gunfire rang out at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Instead of running, he stayed behind to save others, including his sister.
“Justin always thought of other people first instinctively, even when some of us didn’t notice it. If someone was having a hard day, or God forbid being bullied or something, he was the first person to stand up, the first person to check on others," friend Jacob Landers said.
Friends told FOX 5 Meek graduated from Coronado High School in 2014 and was the school's mascot. He then went on to graduate from Cal Lutheran University. His mother posted on social media that Meek minored in music and recently got his bachelor's degree in criminal justice.
“This reality still doesn’t make sense to me, but what does make sense is that he’s a young man who at the age of 23 has left a legacy that is now our job to carry on," one of Meek's former teachers said.
Those who knew him told FOX 5 there wasn't anything not to love about Meek, and that he will be deeply missed.
A close friend said Meek was supposed to come home this weekend to celebrate his father's retirement as a Navy SEAL.