CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- When Jim Brennan met Joe Vaughn they were seatmates in the fifth grade.
"He turned to me and said 'Hi, I'm Jim Brennan', and I said 'Hi, I'm Joe Vaughn'." The two friends for nearly half a century said goodbye Monday in the Emergency Room of MetroHealth Medical Center hours after Brennan was shot by a pair of gunman inside his bar, Brennan's Colony, on Lee Road.
"We were lifelong friends and I cannot tell you how much I'll miss him," Vaughn told Channel 3.
Vaughn and Brennan and their friend Jimmy O'Neill all came of age together and entered the bar industry together. All three had bars in the Heights for many years.
Tonight all three were together for a final goodbye.
"I probably talked to Jim more over the last twenty years than anyone else in my life," O'Neill said. "This was the business all of us loved. We discovered it in our late 20's, and it is what we did with the rest of our lives."
Dozens showed up at the hospital to support Brennan's family, dozens more poured into east-side taverns to recall stories of a life lived well.
"People really, really liked Jim Brennan," O'Neill said. "And he really liked people."
Dozens showed up to place candles outside Brennan's Colony on Monday night -- as car after car passed by -- regulars who remain stunned 12-hours later.
"That's the way Jimmy would have wanted it," Vaughn said. "We've all come together to say goodbye to someone who was very important in our lives."