A year after shooting, a family remembers the man who died protecting others


Thousand Oaks, California (CNN)Victoria Rose Meek and her older brother, Justin, grew up attached at the boot — place tunes-loving, h2o polo-playing, singing and felony justice majors at California Lutheran University.

“I called them the fraternal twins, even though they were born 3 decades apart,” their mom, Laura Lynn Meek, told CNN.
Their passions led the siblings to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, also property to what grew to become their favourite dance corridor, The Borderline Bar and Grill.
They loved Borderline university evening, when a pair hundred youthful grown ups and young people from encompassing colleges left powering their laptops and books and line-danced with friends and strangers.
On November 7, 2018, Justin was working as a promoter for the club and Victoria Rose joked that bundled working the beer pong game titles.
“I was hanging out with my brother when one particular of my preferred tunes came on, just one of my preferred line dances, ‘Askin’ Thoughts,'” mentioned Victoria Rose, who is now a 21-12 months-outdated college senior.
She ran off to strut and as the track wound down, the gunshots commenced.
“I was turning and then I heard pop, pop, and there was a pause, and it all occurred so quick and it was chaos,” Victoria Rose mentioned.
“And I was just ducking and jogging to the back doorway. And I tripped and fell.”
She recalls a stranger helped lift her up and pushed her absent from the massacre.
Later on, Victoria Rose remaining a voice message on Justin’s mobile phone but noticed no indicator of her hulking brother outside the house.
“I just felt it in my intestine,” she mentioned, ahead of pausing and crying. “I understood soon after that Justin did not make it.”
Authorities mentioned Ian David Long fired fifty rounds, killing 12 persons which includes Justin Meek and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus.
Lengthy, a 28-calendar year-previous United States Marine Corps veteran, then fatally shot himself.
No definite motive has surfaced.
Justin was 23.
Thursday, a “healing garden” honoring Meek and the other 11 victims is established to be devoted in a Thousand Oaks park a number of miles absent from the bar.
The memorial characteristics 12 stone slab benches and h2o jets, a single for each and every victim. The fountains variety a circle close to a pond, and the heads of turtles can be found poking out earlier mentioned the shimmering water.
“I believe the h2o is quite sizeable for us simply because Justin grew up on the drinking water,” his mother mentioned. “He was extra at ease on h2o than he was on land.”
Justin’s mom and dad and sister mentioned the water connections: swimmer, h2o polo participant, lifeguard. His next purpose was to grow to be turn out to be a Coastline Guard officer, and inevitably a US marshal.
“I’ve listened to folks check with him, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?'” reported their father, Roger Meek, a retired Navy SEAL. “‘I want to aid individuals. I want to defend individuals,’ (Justin mentioned). And which is who he was.”
Ahead of his previous heartbeat at Borderline, that’s what Justin was doing — aiding and safeguarding.
His sister and parents say Justin broke out windows with a bar stool, developing an escape route.
Not only did Victoria Rose survive, but so did 247 other young folks, who just came to dance.
“From witness statements, he raised his arms like angels’ wings, as my mother claims, and shielded other people so they could get out,” Victoria Rose described, eyes glistening.
“I fully grasp he was the past man or woman obtaining out when he was shot.”
The Meek household says they want people today to continue to keep conversing about Justin and the other victims.
They dress in engraved bracelets to try to remember Justin — an Eagle Scout at thirteen, attained singer and mate to numerous people.
Within the bracelets are a estimate: “And in the close it really is not the many years in your life that count it is really the daily life in your many years.”