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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Dozens Gather for Vigil Honoring Venice Lightning-Strike Victim

A large crowd gathered at St. Charles Borromeo Church on Tuesday night to remember Nick Fagnano.

A large crowd gathered at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood on Tuesday night to remember Nick Fagnano. The 20-year-old was killed last weekend in Venice by a lightning strike.

The prayer service was organized by two friends who were with Fagnano the day the accident happened.

Alex Zamora said Fagnano went to rinse off in the ocean. Moments later, Zamora and another friend heard a loud noise. "We heard this big loud bang," he said. Lightning had struck the water. Zamora and his friend rushed down to the water to search for Fagnano but he was nowhere to be found. About an hour later, lifeguards found Fagnano but it was too late. The young man was taken to a local hospital and was pronounced dead.

Fagnano's former roommate Matt Cohen says the service was meant to bring everyone together. "It's a good chance for the community to get together and pay their respects to one of the greatest people to walk this earth."

Dozens of people came to offer their condolences to the family and mourn the loss of their friend. Fagnano's parents were not at the service, but his uncle said they are thankful for all the support they have received. 

"There's so much love for this young man and it's just heartwarming," Dennis Shanahan said. Shanahan described his nephew as hard-working and ambitious. 

Fagnano was accepted to USC and would have been an incoming transfer student this fall. His friends and family say he was excited to finally become a Trojan. 

Those who were unable to attend the vigil took to social media to honor thier friend.

Fagnano will be laid to rest Thursday. His funeral will be held at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Hancock.


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