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Mesa grad, Jason Josaphat, among victims in Orlando massacre

Posted: 12:45 PM, Jun 13, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-14 01:20:48Z

Nearly fifty people were killed and dozens more were wounded in a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub last weekend.

Friends and school officials said one of the victims is a man who attended high school in the Valley.

Nineteen-year-old Jason Benjamin Josaphat's name is listed on the City of Orlando's website, along with more than 40 other names of people killed .

Josaphat's longtime friend, Messiah McMillian, told ABC15 that he graduated from Skyline High School in Mesa in 2014. School officials confirmed this information via their Twitter account.

“Jason was a valued member of Skyline's Spiritline. 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,” said Skyline High School teacher and cheer coach Cathy Underwood.

McMillian said Josaphat was one of the first people to befriend him when he first moved to Mesa as a child and that they've been best friends ever since.

“Whenever somebody was in a bad mood or if you saw anyone down, he would always be that one friend helping to put everyone up," McMillian said. 

After seeing Snapchats from Josaphat at the nightclub in the moments before the shooting and not hearing back from him, McMillian became worried. 

"We waited hours and hours. And finally this morning, I got some information from his brother, and he said that he was fighting through it, and maybe 45 minutes to an hour later after he told me that, he told me that he had passed," McMillan said. "To be honest, I can't. It's hard for me to even keep a straight face because sometimes all I wanted do is cry, all I want to do is cry."

McMillian said he was one of the first people to find out that Josaphat was a homosexual.

"For a minute, he had a hard time letting that out, and I was one of his friends he let that out to. When I found out, I never judged him. I never looked at him any differently. He was always my friend," McMillian said.

Another classmate said "his smile could light up a room and his laugh was so contagious."

“I'm going to miss his smile, because that's all he did was smile. And that's all I can think about now. The first thing I think about when I hear his name is his smile because that's all he did,” McMillian said.

According to Buzzfeed , Josaphat was in Florida attending school and friends described him as a "bright and happy young man".

There will be a candlelight vigil Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Skyline Park for Josphat.