COLORADO SPRINGS — For Raymond Green Vance's family, he was their light.
"I used to call him my gentle giant," his mother, Adriana Vance told NBC News, "he just was young and full of life."
Vance was a graduate of Sand Creek High School, he was at Club Q the night of the shooting with his girlfriend and her family to celebrate a birthday. His girlfriend's father is Richard Fierro, one of the two men who subdued the gunman.
His mother said the couple had been together since middle school and they would often go out to dinner or the movies every weekend. Before he went out that night, she remembered he had asked her about his outfit.
"I told him he looked good and he smelled good and I just told him to be careful and I'll see him later," Adriana said.
The following morning she got a phone call from his girlfriend who was in the hospital she told Vance's mom they couldn't find him.
"I just got ready and I just left the house to go drive by the club or just to go see what was kind of going on I was calling him and he wasn't answering, they were calling, I called my dad and I asked him to help me look for him," Vance said.
She would later learn from police her son was one of five killed in the shooting.
"I just, I couldn't believe it, I was just in shock and just clueless," Vance said.
The pain and grief, something she said she was still working through in an interview with NBC News.
"I keep thinking that they made a mistake and that they are eventually going to call and tell me they apologize they got the wrong information, I'm still trying to process everything," Vance said.
As Vance works through her grief, she hopes people know how Raymond was a "tall, handsome, gentle giant" she said.
His grandmother echoed the sentiment that he was someone everyone fell in love with.
"They always said oh your grandson is so sweet, he's so nice and that's what he always reflected to the people, his kindness, his smile," his grandmother Esthela Bell told NBC.
Vance's family is holding a private memorial service on Saturday followed by a dove release and candlelight vigil.
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