Families and friends of six killed in a murderous rampage in Santa Barbara were trying to make sense of the violent attack two days after it shook the college town.
“Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don’t think it will happen to your child until it does,” a sobbing Richard Martinez said of his son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, who was killed Friday night at the IV Deli Mart in Isla Vista. “His death has left our family broken.”
Authorities say the suspect, Elliot Rodger, 22, stabbed three roommates to death at his apartment Friday night before starting his shooting spree.
The stabbing victims were identified Sunday by the sheriff’s office as Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, and Weihan Wang, 20. They were all students at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Hong and Chen were listed on the apartment’s lease. Investigators are working to determine whether Wang was a roommate.
Veronica Elizabeth Weiss, 19, and Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, were both killed outside the Alpha Phi sorority house near the University of California-Santa Barbara campus.
Rodger was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Michaels-Martinez, of Los Osos, Calif., was killed when Rodger walked into the deli he was working at and shot him, authorities said. Martinez said he had spoken with his son — an English major who planned to go to London next year and to law school after graduation — just 45 minutes earlier.
Speaking to reporters Saturday, Michaels-Martinez’s father grew angry as he talked about gun laws and lobbyists.
“They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live?” Martinez said. “When will enough people say: ‘Stop this madness! We don’t have to live like this! Too many people have died!’ ”
Martinez pulled out a photo of his son as a small child in a Chicago Cubs baseball uniform and said they used to call him “mini-Sammy Sosa,” referring to the former Cubs star.
“Chris was a really great kid,” his father said.
SOURCE: Yamiche Alcindor