SAN DIEGO — A suspect has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run that killed a beloved bartender in University Heights.
Josh Gilliland, 47, was walking to work at Cheers on Adams Avenue, just as he had done for more than two decades, when he was hit.
“It’s been a nightmare, it’s been a roller coaster,” Scott Moore, Gilliland’s longtime companion, said to FOX 5.
According to San Diego police, Gilliland was walking across the crosswalk when a drunk driver ran a red light and hit Gilliland at the intersection of Park and El Cajon boulevards. The driver fled the scene, and Gilliland was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead a few days later.
“He obeyed every traffic signal, he was just living his life and somebody hit him and killed him,” Moore said. “He was just doing his normal thing and he was just walking across the street.”
Police have arrested the driver nearly three months after the deadly incident. They identified the suspect as 37-year-old Brandon Janik of San Diego. He was driving a 2022 BMW at the time of the hit-and-run. Janik was arrested Tuesday morning at 3800 7th Avenue, about a mile from where the crash happened. Janik has been booked into jail and according to online court records does not have an option for bail at the time of booking.
He faces several charges including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, felony DUI and charges related to false insurance claims.
“It does give a little bit of closure just knowing that we are moving forward with things, but it doesn’t change anything,” Moore said. “I forgive the guy, because I feel like everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes have way more of an impact than others, but dude made a mistake and that sucks, and that changed so many people’s lives.”
Even through the difficult last few months, Moore is choosing to forgive, but never forget the memories he has.
“I think about him everyday and I miss him everyday,” Moore said. “He was my everyday friend and that’s just the hardest part, is he was my everyday friend and I don’t have an everyday friend anymore.”
According to online court records, Janik is in custody, with no option for bail. His first court date is an arraignment scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Moore said he plans to be in the courtroom throughout the legal process.