The Victims Of The Horrific Isla Vista Mass Killings
Details have been trickling out about the victims of a mass killing perpetrated by Elliot Rodger in Isla Vista on Friday night. All of them have been identified as students at the nearby UC Santa Barbara. Three of the victims killed were stabbed to death in Rodger's apartment, two were shot outside a sorority house in Isla Vista and a third was shot at a deli store. (This tally does not include information about other victims who survived the horrific attack.)
Rodger posted threatening videos and sent out an e-mail before the attack, but his parents weren't able to get there in time to head off the killings.
Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez (Handout from family)
Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, San Luis ObispoMichaels-Martinez was a sophomore English major at UCSB who planned to study abroad in London and go to law school after graduation, his father told ABC. He was a residential adviser in a dorm last year, and friends described him as the kind of guy who was welcoming to strangers. He enjoyed playing sports; his father carried a photo of his son as a child wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform, and nicknamed was "mini-Sammy Sosa." He was the only son of his parents.
So far Michaels-Martinez's family has been the most outspoken about the tragedy. Richard Martinez told reporters that he believed that our country's lax gun's laws and powerful gun lobby played a crucial role in Friday night's shooting: "The talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live? When will enough people say: 'Stop this madness! We don't have to live like this! Too many people have died!" Martinez told the Los Angeles Times that he'd like to meet up with Rodger's father to talk about preventing tragedies like this in the future, "I lost my son. He lost his son. We have that in common."
He was the last of Rodger's victims, and he was shot to death inside the IV Deli Mart. (CNN has a surveillance video that shows other customers in the store responding to the shooting.) One student Alyssa Hopper who bravely stayed behind to give Michaels-Martinez CPR realized that she recognized the face as she tried to revive him: "I was giving him CPR, looked down and recognized his face. He was the first person I met at freshman orientation."
Veronika Weiss (Facebook)
Veronika Weiss, 19, Westlake VillageWeiss' parents described her as a tomboy, who played four sports while she was in high school and was a standout water polo player who managed to get straight A's, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was good at math and her father Bob Weiss said she aspired to be a "financial wizard." He said she was "wise and mature beyond her years" and he sometimes even went to her for advice. Her mother and grandmother belonged to the Delta Delta Delta sorority, so she went ahead and joined it, too, when she arrived at UCSB.
Authorities told the Los Angeles Times that after stabbing his roommates in his apartment, Rodger knocked on the door of the Alpha Phi sorority a few blocks away but no one answered. He opened fire on three women nearby, including Weiss and Katie Cooper—both members of Tri-Delta.
It took a while for sheriff's officials to confirm the names of the dead after Friday night's shooting, but Weiss' family knew that no new was bad news. When a riot broke out at Isla Vista earlier this year, Weiss called her parents to let her know that she was all right. When news of the shooting spread, her parents rushed to campus. They used Weiss' "Find my iPhone" app and noticed that her phone was in the middle of one of the crime scenes.
Katie Cooper (Facebook)
Katie Cooper, 22, Chino HillsCooper was just a few weeks shy of graduating from UCSB with a degree in art history. Her family has a sign on their door in Chino Hills, letting the media know that they're not giving interviews. One neighbor who spent time with the Coopers looking at old photos said Cooper's mother was "very angry, furious,” that her daughter’s legacy was going to be linked to the mass killing.
But neighbors and family friends described Cooper to the Riverside Press-Enterprise as "the kind of the girl that brought sunshine on an overcast day." They describe Cooper as a tall, athletic girl who was a graceful dancer.
Like Weiss, she was a member of the Tri-Delta sorority, and she was fatally shot outside the Alpha Phi sorority. Her parents found out about the shooting on Saturday morning. Her aunt Stacy Simmer told The Daily Mail, "Katie was the apple of all of our eyes...She had a 4.8 GPA and did a lot of charity fundraising for St Jude’s Children's hospital."
Cheng Yuan Hong (Facebook)
Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, San Jose
Hong was studying computer engineering, and he was reserved. But in high school in San Jose, one of his teachers described him as a "drama kid" who enjoyed working backstage. Laurel Cohen, his drama teacher, told the San Jose Mercury News, "James was shy, quiet, gentle, sweet, kind and most respectful. Not someone who easily could engage in conversation. But I remember his earnest nature, conviction, honesty and mostly his smile; it lit up a room."
Hong was a roommate to Rodger, but things were rocky between them. Sheriff's officials said that Rodger had at one point reported his roommate for stealing $22 of candles, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Rodger made a citizen's arrest, and Hong was charged with petty theft. He ended up pleading guilty, but the roommates continued to live together.
Rodger described in his manifesto how he planned to stab his roommates before moving on to a sorority house in Isla Vista, and it appears that's exactly how it went down. Hong was one of three men who were found stabbed to death in Rodger's apartment.
Friends told the Times that the trio of men slain on Friday night in Rodger's apartment—Hong, George Chen and Weihan Wang—bonded over video games, computers and their shared Chinese backgrounds. A fellow classmate said it would be hard to picture any of the men getting into a fight. Bonan Yan, another computer science major, told the Times, "They are polite. I don’t think they would fight with anyone."
Weihan "David" Wang with his parents, Jane Liu and Charlie Wang at his 2012 graduation from Fremont Christian School. (NBC Bay Area)
Weihan Wang, 20, Fremont
Wang was also a computer engineering major at UC Santa Barbara, who hoped to one day start his own business. Next month the Fremont native had plans to head up to Yellowstone National Park with his family for vacation and then celebrate his 21st birthday in July.
Instead his grieving family was headed down to Santa Barbara. His mother Jinshuang "Jane" Liu told NBC, "I'm a strong mom, I'm a nurse, I'm nice to my patients. I go to my church a few times a week. I ask God, 'Why doesn't he take me instead of my son?' I don't understand why this happened to me."
George Chen (Facebook)
George Chen, 19, San JoseChen was visiting Wang and Hong on Friday night. He was the son of engineers, and his parents said he wanted to follow in their footsteps and work at Lockheed Martin. His parents heard there had been a shooting that night, but they assumed that he was okay since Chen didn't party. His parents describe him as a helpful son and a smart student. He used to get the mail and take the out the trash for his elderly neighbors. He also volunteered for the Buddhist-based organization Tzu Chi.
Kelly Y. Wang told the Los Angeles Times, "This is a pain nobody should have to go through. This is not the first time it happens, a killing spree, but I hope it's the last one. No parent should have to go through this."
The San Jose Mercury news says Chen graduated from Leland High in 2012 and had been a camp counselor for the YMCA. He was slated to graduate in 2016, according to his Facebook page.
*Editors note: we've updated this post to include and correct information that was not available at the time of publication.