Friends and family gathered Thursday evening to mourn a 20-year-old USC-bound man who died after being struck by lightning in Venice Beach.
Nick Fagnano had stepped into the water to wash off the sand before leaving the beach July 27 when lightning struck, family members said. He later died at a hospital.
"I was so proud of him for so many things," his father, Jay Fagnano said, holding back tears. "Nick and Mary had an amazing mother-son bond. But Nick and I...he was my best friend, and I think maybe I was his best friend, 'cause we sure did a lot together."
The Los Angeles native graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2012 where he was a pitcher for the baseball team, family members said. Fagnano continued playing when he attended Santa Barbara City College.
After finishing up some general education requirements at Santa Monica College, Fagnano was accepted to USC where he planned to attend in fall.
"When have we known the universe to go so out of its way like that?" Mary Fagnano said earlier this week, reading a letter from a friend. "When what is most needed in the world is love, those who are most loved will often get called."
The USC Price School of Public Policy has set up the Nick Fagnano Memorial Scholarship to support undergraduate transfer students. Anyone who wishes to donate can contact Brent Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fagnano's parents said donations can also be made to The St. Brendan School Building Fund at email@example.com.