It was a night of dancing, cheering, memories and tears.
Roughly 75 people gathered Friday night to remember Connor Bishop Zion at Londance, the Laguna Niguel studio where the 21-year-old semi-professional dancer took lessons.
The crowd included his mother and roommate, both of whom he allegedly cut with a steak knife on the evening he was killed. An Orange County sheriff's deputy shot and killed Zion last week in a struggle with a steak knife on Chandon, authorities said. An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Zion was a youth national champion who specialized in Latin international dance steps, Londance owner Patricia West said.
A video montage showed a photo of baby Connor inside an incubator, born two months prematurely. Other photos showed him in martial arts classes and school photos, but mostly he was shown dancing.
Fellow dancers remembered him as a dedicated, hard-working performer with exceptional spins.
"I was always driven by his strength, drive, passion and grace," Zion's former instructor Angel Dumprias said. "He will be greatly missed."
Prior to the memorial, $3,000 had been donated to establish a scholarship for young dancers like Zion. West reminded those gathered how expensive it is to pursue a career in dance, as Zion had done.
When his dance instructor Yegor Novikov moved from Seattle, Zion moved with him, ultimately to Laguna Niguel. The young dancer had no car when he arrived in Orange County.
"Out of all this tragedy, we want something good to come of it," West said, referring to the scholarship.
Zion's mother Kim spoke following the memorial, describing her son's death as a "horrible tragedy." She said he suffered from nocturnal epilepsy.