Pierside Body Art Gallery owner Jay closed his tattoo shop in Pacific Beach two days ago after hearing his long-time friend and business partner had died.
“We're going to be doing a lot of installations dedicated to his memory,” Jay says, looking around at some of Bruce’s favorite paintings in the shop.
Tattoo artist Carey Bruce, 36, was killed on Interstate 405 in Irvine early Friday morning when his SUV crashed into a tree and went up in flames.
“He was a great friend to all the people he knew and just a really lovable guy,” Jay says. “A lot of people called him Carebear."
Jay tells NBC 7 he recently spoke with Bruce's family.
“They're devastated,” Jay says. “That was their son and brother, uncle, you know? Carey, he had a lot of family and friends."
Officers don't know what caused Bruce to veer off the roadway. His parents are heartbroken, and friends say the tragedy is only adding to his father's own health problems.
“His father is going through troubling things, cancer actually,” Jay explains.
Friends are preparing to hold a vigil at the tattoo parlor Monday to remember their loving friend and artist.
“He was a really good friend … and if you needed any help at all he was there for you. I just enjoyed every minute I worked with him,” Jay adds.