PHOENIX — One of the victims in the terrorist attack on an Orlando gay bar graduated from an Arizona high school.
Jason Benjamin Josaphat was 19. He graduated from Skyline High School in Mesa in 2014.
“[Josaphat] was a valued member of Skyline’s Spiritline,” his coach, Cathy Underwood, said in a statement. “He lit up the gym when he walked through the door. Even in the most intense cheer moments, he had a way of making everyone laugh. His smile shone through and he always looked out for everyone else.”
Sabrina Chambers, who attended Skyline with Josaphat, said he was someone who laughed every single day.
“Every single morning, we would talk, we would laugh, we would make fun of each other and we would make up silly little rap songs,” she said. “It was nothing but love.”
There will be a candle-lighting ceremony at the school, located near Crismon and Broadway roads, on Wednesday night to memorialize Josaphat and the other victims.
Josaphat was killed when a gunman opened fire on Pulse nightclub, a popular bar for gay people in Orlando, early Sunday morning. Fifty people died while 53 more were injured.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Josaphat’s Facebook page said he was attending Southern Technical Institute, about a two-hour drive from the club.
The shooter, 29-year-old New York City-born Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with police following the attack.
Mateen purchased the guns used in the shooting legally, despite being on the federal government’s radar as a potential terrorist.
The FBI investigated Mateen in 2013 after he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible ties to terrorists. The following year, the agency looked into potential ties connecting Mateen to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria.
He was cleared after both investigations.
A law enforcement official has said Omar Mateen called 911 from the nightclub and expressed allegiance to an Islamic State leader.
KTAR’s Corbin Carson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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