Venice lightning strike victim was inbound USC student (updated)

Nick Fagnano, 20, died following a lightning strike in Venice Beach on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
Nick Fagnano, 20, died following a lightning strike in Venice Beach on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Courtesy of Fagnano family

1:09 p.m.: Lightning strike victim was incoming USC student

The man who died after lightning struck near the pier in Venice Beach on Sunday was a Santa Barbara City College student who had recently been accepted to the University of Southern California, according to his uncle, Fox40 reporter Dennis Shanahan.

Nick Fagnano, 20, was one of at least eight people who were injured when lightning reportedly touched down in or near the water. Fagnano died of his injuries.

"Nick was the friendliest young man you'd ever meet.  He was an only child.  The kind of kid every parent would want their son to grow up to be.  Hard-working, ambitious, and truly kind-hearted," Shanahan wrote in an email to L.A.-area media.

Fagnano graduated from eighth grade at St. Brendan's Catholic School in Los Angeles in 2008, Shanahan wrote. He later played baseball for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where he graduated in 2012. He would have entered USC as a junior this fall.

Shanahan wrote:

He had many friends, but was also very close with his mom, dad and extended family.  He loved the Dodgers.  Loved the beach but also the mountains.  Enjoyed snowboarding.  We are a Catholic family.  His Christian Catholic faith was important to him.  He used to keep a Bible on his nightstand.

One other person was critically injured in the lightning strike and was transported to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Two more were treated and released from the hospital's Santa Monica facility.

10:11 a.m.: Coroner IDs lightning strike victim

A 20-year-old beach-goer who died Sunday when lightning struck near the pier at Venice Beach has been identified by the Los Angeles Coroner's office.

The initial report to the coroner's office was that Nick Fagnano died of a lightning strike or drowning. An autopsy is pending to confirm the exact cause of death, according to the coroner's office.

At least seven other people were injured in the lightning strike, according to the Associated Press.

One patient in critical condition was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, KPCC has confirmed. Two other patients were taken to the UCLA hospital in Santa Monica, where they were treated and released.

NBC4 reports that all of the victims were in or near the water when the bolts touched down.

This story has been updated.

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