STOCKTON - The extended community at the University of the Pacific has shown an outpouring of support since learning that one of their own student-athletes was among the victims in the UC Santa Barbara shooting rampage.
In addition to the six people killed by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger on Friday, 13 others were wounded and are recovering from serious injuries at area hospitals.
Among them was UoP freshman and water polo player Nick Pasichuke, who was in Isla Vista to visit a friend. As the news spread to Pasichuke's friends and teammates, loved ones rallied in support.
"It's sad when you see something like this happen, but it's also really cool to see how the Stockton community and our family, we really came together as a program to support him and all the victims over there," teammate Casey Fleming said.
Water polo coach James Graham got the call Saturday morning from the young man's father.
"The person that was involved in the rampage had driven a car directly into Nick's group of friends, and Nick was the one that was hit by the car," Graham said.
In an interview Sunday, Pasichuke described the moments leading up to the crash.
"Basically, just had gotten food at Free Bird's and was long boarding down the street, while my friend in front of me was on his bike," Pasichuke said. "And needless to say he and I were just talking and out of nowhere, get swooped up by a car and thrown about 50 yards, so far down the street is all a real blur and the next thing you know, I'm on the ground, can't move my legs."
Graham said one of Pasichuke's legs was broken, the other shattered. He also sustained facial fractures. Nonetheless, following a successful surgery, Pasichuke posted a photo giving a thumbs up and sent word to his coach he's already looking ahead to the next water polo season.
"This is his passion. This is what he loves," Graham said. "This is what he wants to do, and we're here to encourage that in any way we can and to help him in any way we can, but we're not going to push any particular timeline, and we're just going to let things take their course."
"Love to have him back out here," Fleming said. "I know he'll be a part of the program. He loves, he lives and bleeds orange and black."