May 26th, 2014
04:38 AM ET

Remembering the Tragedy's Victims

Before Elliot Rodger took off on a shooting rampage Friday in a college community near Santa Barbara, California, officials say he stabbed and killed his roommates.

Those men - among the six people killed in total - were identified Sunday as Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, and Weihan Wang, 20.

All three were students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and were found dead in Rodger's apartment with multiple stab wounds, officials said.

Hong and Chen are listed on the lease along with Rodger. It was not immediately clear whether Wang was visiting or was another roommate.

A law enforcement source said the third victim in the apartment was a visitor, adding that authorities are working on a theory that the attack happened as the three men were asleep.

Katherine Cooper, 22, and Veronika Weiss, 19, also students at UCSB, were later killed outside a sorority, while Christopher Martinez, 20, was killed at a deli, officials said.

Rodger, the son of a Hollywood movie director, also injured 13 people and died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.

Martinez's father gave a wrenching statement to the news media Saturday afternoon. He was "a really great kid" whose "death has left our family lost and broken," Richard Martinez said.

"Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don't think it will happen to your child until it does," the visibly emotional parent said, his voice rising to a shout in obvious agony.

"Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the (National Rifle Association). They talk about gun rights - what about Chris' right to live?" he continued. "When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say stop this madness, we don't have to live like this? Too many have died. We should say to ourselves - not one more."

The comment touched a nerve among many Americans, and it prompted the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's president to say the grieving father "got it exactly right."

"It is time for the American public to know the truth about why people are dying every day and, thanks to Americans like Mr. Martinez, that truth is starting to be heard," Dan Gross said in a statement Sunday.

Jeff Dolphin, Christopher Martinez's former roommate, remembered how his friend had always been there for him, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A second-year student at UCSB, Dolphin recalled living with Martinez during their freshman year, the newspaper said.

"Chris was just an amazing guy," he told the Times. "If I was going through something, he was always there for me. If I needed something, he was there. If I needed a textbook, if I was locked out of the room because I forgot my key, he would stop playing basketball or doing what he was doing to unlock the door so I didn't have to get charged. He was just a great guy."

Lyssa Hopper, a 19-year-old student, was at the counter of the I.V. Deli Mart, Hopper told the newspaper. When shooting began, Hopper dropped to the floor, looked up and saw Martinez lying near the door.

"He was slumped over, and he was bleeding," Hopper told the newspaper.

Messages across social media urged that the victims' names remain in the headlines to honor and remember them as more emerges about their alleged killer.

Flowers and cards are being left at the deli. One with a large red heart read, "We will miss you, Chris." Bunches of flowers were wedged into holes left by bullets in the glass storefront.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Name*bruce

    this is solely on the shoulders of the police who knew this kid and had probable cause to search his room and investigate further.just another example of people who have the chance of stopping this not taking the extra step.

    May 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  2. Cindy Forehand

    Did this young man grow up playing violent video games? This seems to be the common thread with recent massacres. Do people not realize that lifelike violent games are conditioning and training children/people that play them to act them out? This young man stabbed 3 young men to death. Should knives be banned? Children have to learn respect and feel loved and not be allowed to sit behind a screen for hours at at time and virtually kill, steali etc. BAN VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES. Can't imagine the grief of all families involved. My heart goes out to them.

    May 26, 2014 at 9:38 am | Reply
  3. In Peace and Unity...

    This so sad...so sad! tears rolling down as I started to read...There has to BE A STOP on sales of weapons...Not that suffering and pain will be stopped throughout the world, and in the States, but at least, there will be less...It's getting to a point where there is NO control. This is a real TRAGEDY...

    Rest in *Peace* to those who were slaughtered in cold bold, and my heart goes out to all the families and friends of these victims...

    I am so sad... I always talk about Love and Peace, but where is it?!

    In sorrow,
    Melody Fox
    Love Peace Music

    May 26, 2014 at 6:26 am | Reply

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